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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update - Chile Earthquake & Jenn's Family

One hundred eighteen aftershocks so far and 300+ fatalities reported by Chilean news at the moment. In hardest-hit Concepcion one supermarket was overrun by people clamoring for food and water. The news footage shows that most were simply taking meat, cheese, milk for their kids because no aid has been handed out yet. (Others who were taking advantage of the situation and stealing non-food items were detained by police.) The mayor has been quoted as expecting a "social explosion" by nightfall if supplies are not received.

Thankfully, in Santiago we've been told that with patience basic necessities are available. My sister Jennifer said supermarkets are still closed and bread is not available (Chileans eat bread with every meal) but small mom-and-pop stores are open. She is grateful that they had groceries on hand, but many others are not so fortunate.

As far as a personal update, my sister tells me their house stood firm throughout the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks and they have had electricity most of the time. Her oldest son Matias (age 8) has taken things the hardest and is very unnerved by the continued shaking. Micah (age 6) has taken things in stride and in fact she says he will just announce matter-of-factly, "Mommy, the house is shaking again" every time it happens. Yesterday he was busy playing Wii and when a hard aftershock hit, he didn't even want to stop playing and come downstairs because he insisted, "But it will probably stop soon!"

Jenn said she thought her daughters Juliana (age 3) and Kendra (age 1) had not been affected too much until bedtime last night, when Juliana refused to stay in her own bed. She asked, "Mommy, what if it happens again?" and when Jenn asked what she meant her reply was, "The shaking." Please pray especially for the children in Chile during this time. My sisters and I remember all too well the fear that literally followed for years after the 1985 earthquake we experienced, and that is the reality they are facing now.

This was an interesting article noting the differences between the earthquake in Haiti and the one in Chile. As the article reports Chile prepares itself for seismic catastrophes because as one Chilean reporter said yesterday, all Chileans grow up knowing they definitely will experience at least one major earthquake in their lifetime. In the States we have fire drills; in Chile we have earthquake drills. Here in Iquique my kids have earthquake drills at school where all the students head to the open-air patio and crouch with their hands over their heads; and tsunami drills where the entire student body files up the steep hills to higher ground.

I am proud of Chile's initial response as we have witnessed through news reports, and impressed by President Bachelet's immediate presence on the media outlets and on the ground following the earthquake. However, I am saddened knowing there are still hundreds missing, injured, hungry and homeless in southern Chile.

Please continue to pray.

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