Christian humanitarian organization World Vision issued the following statement this morning in the still unfolding aftermath of Pacific Ocean earthquakes off the coast of Chile and Japan:
“Aid group World Vision is concerned by the magnitude of the 8.8 quake that struck Chile overnight and anticipating reports of further deaths and damage.
“Overnight, World Vision has been attempting to reach its staff in Chile, without success.
World Vision is also concerned about the possible tsunami that is reportedly heading for Asia as a result of Chile’s quakes. Our disaster teams are contacting offices across the region to alert them for the possibility of a major tsunami.
“We have worked in Chile for 30 years and have more than 100 staff in the country, many living and working in areas close to the quake epicenter.
“However, given the magnitude of this disaster, World Vision is preparing to deploy additional staff to support the relief response.
“Chile is prone to large earthquakes. After the 7.7 quake in northern Chile in November 2007, World Vision was one of the first responders in the area and set up Child-Friendly Spaces to serve the needs of the quake’s youngest survivors.
“Since 1980, World Vision Chile has been implementing development projects reaching about 100,000 children and adults within the country’s poorest, most marginalized communities, including a focus on education and microfinance opportunities for poor entrepreneurs.
“In addition, World Vision continues to respond to the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. To date, the aid agency has provided more than 4,300 metric tons of food to more than 819,000 people, distributed shelter supplies to thousands, opened up five mobile clinics and provided medical supplies to 11 hospitals, and reached 32,000 people with basic items such as hygiene kits, blankets, and mosquito nets. World Vision has also opened up Child-Friendly Spaces in 7 locations throughout Port-au-Prince.
“We will continue trying to reach our staff in the ground in Chile.”