The massive earthquake that struck Chile February 27 continues to have a heavy impact on the Chilean people. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami killed at least 497 people while about 500 remain missing. Considering the numbers injured and rendered homeless from the initial earthquake and the numerous aftershocks, Chileans will continue to need assistance. Numerous countries and aid organizations have offered and given assistance.
Given the not-that-distant history of the Pinochet dictatorship, the aid and assistance that has come in from Cuba, Russia and Bolivia are particularly interesting. Cuba flew in a team of doctors and a field hospital. Russia flew in rescue workers and humanitarian aid. And from Bolivia, President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia are donating half their March salaries to earthquake victims in both Chile and Haiti. This in itself is not hugely significant but if other political leaders did the same they would be showing a degree of decency often in short supply among politicians.
Some aid organizations that are working with the ongoing relief effort in Chile are SOS Children’s Village which has been active in Chile since 1965, www.childrensvillage.org, OXFAM has been helping with the earthquake relief since the quake struck February 27, www.oxfamamerica.org, and Red Cross, www.redcross.org. When contacting these agencies specify that it is for Chilean earthquake relief.