Aid organizations mobilize for Chile

International aid groups are mobilizing efforts to assist victims of Saturday’s massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile.

Christian humanitarian organization World Vision is assessing the damage in the capital of Santiago and hardest hit city, Concepcion. Blankets and water have been given to some residents of Santiago in an initial effort. World Vision already has a presence in many locations in the Bio Bio area which were hardest hit. On Sunday, six World Vision officials flew from Santiago to Concepcion to assess the damage. Supplies, including basic foodstuffs and shelter, will be airlifted in once air transportation becomes available.

Late Sunday, World Vision officials already stationed in communities affected by the quake reported widespread damage with most people sleeping outside amid recurring aftershocks.

“We are extremely concerned about the emotional impact of so many aftershocks on children. Not only the physical needs, but the psychosocial needs of children in the quake zone will be a priority once the full extent of the needs are known and we can begin delivering much-needed supplies,” said Tatiana Benavides, World Vision’s national director in Chile.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) allocated $280,000 from its Disaster Emergency Response Fund to support the Chilean Red Cross, according to UNICEF. The American Red Cross has pledged $50,000 from its International Response Fund and the European Commission on Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection has pledged €3 million.

The Chilean Red Cross Society (CRCS) reported late Sunday that communication had been spotty to some more remote areas impacted by the quake. CRCS 29 branches in Bio Bio and 14 in neighboring Maule.

Identical to efforts to help Haiti in the aftermath quake, The Salvation Army can forward a $10 donation to Chile my texting the country’s name to 52000. It is also accepting donations at its Web site.

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