On April 1, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile. World Vision teams are working with the government and partners to assess damage and are ready to respond once assessment teams have a clearer picture of the extent of damage.
A week after World Vision trained Chilean teenagers in emergency response, their communities were among those forced to evacuate to avoid an earthquake-generated tsunami.
An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday evening off the north coast of Chile, prompting tsunami warnings and large-scale evacuations all along the coast. As many as 60 aftershocks were felt in the affected area, and millions of people evacuated from coastal areas following tsunami alerts.
World Vision teams are working with the government and partners to assess damage in the worst-affected areas. The organization remains on standby, ready to respond as needed once assessment teams have a clearer picture of the extent of damage.
“There have been multiple aftershocks and communications have been cut off in many of the affected areas, so people spent the night waiting in the dark hills not knowing what is to come, and hoping they will be able to return to their homes safely,” says Fabrizio Guzman, World Vision emergency communications manager in Chile.
“There are many people relieved to see daylight today. People are fearful after experiencing the powerful earthquake in 2010, so they immediately fled for higher ground when they heard the tsunami warning,” he says.
As of mid-morning local time, staff reported that nearly everyone had returned home, as the tsunami warning had been lifted. However, near the epicenter in the north, flights remain grounded, roads are closed due to mudslides, and classes have been canceled. There are reports of power outages in the region.
When the first tsunami warnings came, World Vision staff in southern Chile worked with local authorities, fire services, and hospitals to help people evacuate from coastal areas.
First responders praised the communities for responding quickly to evacuation calls.
“It is a relief this morning to see so many people heeded the warnings and moved to higher ground. The government prepares people, aid organizations like us prepare, but at the end of the day, people know what to do. They have experienced the terror of past destructive tsunamis and come to the safety zones willingly,” said Paola Avello, World Vision’s emergency manager in Chile.
World Vision provides training to help communities prepare for disasters and pre-positions water, food, shelter items and other emergency supplies.
Pray for children and families affected by the quake. Pray for emergency responders seeking to help impacted communities.
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