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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Aid Groups Expand Relief Efforts to Chile

March 2, 2010|9:29 am

Churches and aid organizations already have massive relief efforts going on in Haiti but that's not stopping them from looking more south where Chile is reeling from one of the strongest earthquakes on record.

"[W]ithout even stepping a foot into Central Chile, it is clear that the hundreds of thousands affected by this earthquake desperately need our prayers – and will also need our help as we learn more about the extent of the damage," said Randy Hurst, World Missions Communications director for the Assemblies of God.

International and local relief organizations are still assessing the needs and damage on the ground as initial deliveries of food and supplies are being made.

Samaritan's Purse, headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, immediately mobilized a disaster response team to coastal Chile from its office in neighboring Bolivia. Meanwhile, the non-profit has expanded its recovery efforts in Haiti to more than $25 million.

An 8.8-magnitude quake struck Chile last week, more than a month after Haiti was devastated by a 7.0-magnitude quake. Though the strength of the Chile quake was stronger compared to that of Haiti's, the South American country suffered far fewer losses.

So far the death toll in Chile is at 723. In Haiti, at least 230,000 people were killed.

As groups continue to devote their efforts to helping the Caribbean island nation recover, they have also made initial commitments and dispatchments to Chile.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has committed an initial $40,000 that will be allocated to churches and partners in Chile. An ecumenical assessment team was also scheduled to be sent out on Tuesday to visit congregations and communities in Concepción, Chile.

"Communication with EPES (Popular Education in Health Foundation) staff in Concepción [has] been sporadic," Kathryn Lawler, regional ELCA Global Mission representative for southern South America, told the denomination's news service. "Without electricity people are unable to charge their cell phones and many land lines are down. EPES is still trying to assess the well-being of staff and health promoters in that area."

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet initially did not seek aid from outside the country but as the extent of the damage became clear, she appealed for international aid.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to take 20 satellite phones and a technician to Chile to help relieve communication difficulties.

Churches on the ground, meanwhile, have not forgotten their mission. The Rev. Christian Rautenberg of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile said, "Today (Monday) we are having an emergency church meeting to analyze the situation and the requests for help and support because this situation is also an opportunity to bring the Gospel message in an integrated manner to those who are suffering," as reported by Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Since Saturday's quake, Chile has experienced some 121 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Chile has a history of very large earthquakes. Since 1973, there have been 13 events of magnitude 7.0 or greater.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/aid-groups-expand-relief-efforts-to-chile-44033/