The destruction and suffering wrought by the earthquake in Chile on Saturday February 27 continues. The extent of the damage is evidenced by the fact that 8 of Chile’s 27 dioceses were affected by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Concepcion, the country’s second largest city.
Over 800 Chileans were killed in the quake. Some 500,000 were displaced and 2 million affected by the disaster. Recently a 4.9-magnitude aftershock hit the demolished Maule region, and another tremor measuring 6.1 shook Valparaiso. Over 120 aftershocks measuring at least 5.0 have struck the country since Saturday’s quake.
The Church is responding significantly to the disaster. Caritas is running three sites in Concepcion where it receives aid and delivers it immediately to the survivors. Although the offices of Caritas in that city were destroyed, staff members are working continually with the bishop’s house as their base. It is still challenging to transport aid to the affected areas due to damaged roads. Saturday’s earthquake was 500 times more forceful than the Jan. 12 quake in Haiti. ( see the map of Chile )
The Camillian Task Force also responded immediately to the earthquake in Chile. CTF Central made contact via SKYPE with Father Pietro Magliozzi, MD,MI – a member of the Roman Province of the Order who has been in Chile for several years.
Here is a summary of the initial work that the CTF is going to do in Chile with its collaborators including the Roman Province, the foundation of the Province in Chile, and both the Daughters of Saint Camillus and the Ministers of the Sick – two groups of sisters.
Project in Chile
Area of Cauquenes and Chanco, villages of approximately 10,000 people each that do not seem to have been reached by a stable response. The damage there is very significant. The community of the Daughters of St. Camillus (Linares) is located about 30 minutes from the area. This community could be the logistics base for the mission.
The project will be a healthcare intervention of a first-aid nature utilizing mobile medical clinics. The local bishop is encouraging the presence of both Camillian sisters and male religious in order to supplement the meager resources currently in the field.
An initial team will start as soon as possible:
- Two sisters from the Congregation of the Daughters of Saint Camillus (nurses)
- A sister from the Congregation of the Ministers of the Infirm of Saint Camillus
- A Chilean social worker – Sebastiano
- A priest and physician now in Chile, Fr. Pietro Magliozzi, MI
- A physician (Dr. Maria Elena Binetti)
The team is composed of professionals and thus will give a quality healthcare response.
- Reach a formal agreement with the local authorities (Caritas or the Diocese) regarding the service to be offered. This will allow for recognition of the presence of the CTF in Chile. [Fr. Pietro]
- Preparation for an immediate action plan (purchase of materials, healthcare-related and not, etc); departure (24 – 48 hours?). Establish a base at the Camillian Sisters in Linares and a mobile clinic that will be located centrally located between Cauquenes and Chanco. [Fr. Pietro and colleagues]
- CTF Central and SOS DRS send a sum of money to launch of the initiative. At the same time they will contact the usual channels for more financial support. [Fr. Paolo and Br. Luca]
- Solicit the institutional channels (embassy in Chile) for a field hospital [Fr. Pietro]. Keep alive the prospect of involving Misericordie with their healthcare structures (i.e. field hospital) [Marco]
- Update the project based on the evolving situation [Fr. Peter]
Port au Prince, Haiti