CONCEPCION, Chile, March 4 /CNW/ - World Vision staff began distributing food and relief supplies to towns in Chile hard-hit by Saturday's 8.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunamis.
Following assessments, staff from the relief, development and advocacy organization distributed water, food, blankets, diapers and other infant items in the town of Dichato, located about 64 kilometres north of Concepcion. The town was devastated by the dual disasters.
"In Dichato, there's nothing, nothing," said Paula Saez, World Vision's communications manager in Chile. "The damage is incredible because they have been hit twice - once with the earthquake and a second time with the tsunami."
Assessment teams reported that in part of the town, residents had only one source of clean water and that the Chilean military and firefighters were distributing water to community members.
Additional trucks from World Vision left Santiago with more food, water, diapers and other infant items for distribution later this week in Dichato and Lota, located around 40 kilometres south of Concepcion.
"People need everything here," said Saez. "Shelter, clothes, food. Everything else is gone or destroyed."
"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," said Hans Guzman, a resident of Dichato, speaking to World Vision aid workers.
Guzman was living with his grandmother when the earthquake hit. While running to escape the tsunami, he tried to grab the hand of a woman running behind him, but the wave pulled her away and the woman disappeared. Guzman has not been able to reach his sister or mother in Talcahuano but he and his grandmother are safe. World Vision staff are assessing the needs of residents who have moved into the hillsides for fear of more tsunamis.
World Vision is also preparing to establish child-friendly spaces in Dichato. Child-friendly spaces are places where children can enjoy activities such as music, theater and games in a structured and supervised environment, to help them recover and make sense of the disaster that hit them. The first child-friendly space will likely focus on the 300 children under five-years-old in Dichato. Additional centres will focus on activities for older children. Those who want to help with World Vision's Chile relief efforts can visit www.worldvision.ca/help or call 1-800-268-5528.
SOURCE World Vision Canada
For further information: For further information: or to interview World Vision experts, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Britt Hamilton, (905) 565-6200 ext 3973, (416) 419-1321 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org