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Chile earthquake damages CFCA communities

March 11, 2010

VALPARAISO, Chile — The earthquake that struck Chile on Feb. 27 damaged the homes of some CFCA families, according to recent reports from the Valparaiso project.

Affected families are likely to reside in communities located in Viña del Mar (CFCA subprojects A and V) and Valparaiso proper (subprojects B and D). CFCA serves about 3,000 children, youth and aging persons in these areas.

Valparaiso Project Coordinator Sara Leiva said the staff is still assessing the status of sponsored members and their families in these areas and will continue to report details as they become available.

Chile earthquake damage to kitchen

The earthquake in Chile destroyed a
kitchen where meals for the
sponsored elderly are prepared.

“Many of the families that experienced serious damage to their homes were living in rentals in the middle of the city and now, they are with family nearby,” Leiva said.

Families living in the communities of Playa Ancha, La Ligua, Quintero and Puchuncavi (subprojects PA and RUR) did not sustain physical injuries or material damage. These communities are located north of Valparaiso and away from the hard-hit coast. About 2,000 sponsored members live in these communities.

The subproject code for your sponsored friend can be found on the pre-printed mailing labels, on the family record that was provided in the sponsorship folder and on the label attached to one of the letters from your friend.

Leiva and her staff are having a difficult time performing the assessment because they are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the damage. Roads are passable, but bridges are out. Communications are erratic because of frequent tremors. Schools and municipal buildings have collapsed or are structurally unfit. Even the project office incurred serious damage.

A meal program that served about 30 aging members in downtown Valparaiso (subproject D) near the project office is on hold until the staff devises an alternative way to feed the elderly. The kitchen in the building is no longer operable, and the aging members are unable to prepare meals at home.

The project is providing food and clothing to sponsored members and their families, and it will help families who lost their homes to obtain a new home through the Chilean government’s extensive housing assistance program.

The staff is awaiting an engineer’s report to determine whether the damage to the project office can be repaired. In the meantime, the program is operating out of the first floor of the building.

“The rest of the building is full of debris and three of the walls have huge cracks,” Leiva said. “I believe we also have to abandon this place, but it is very difficult. Our city is left seriously damaged.”

In spite of the disruption of normal life in Valparaiso, Leiva is concerned for her fellow Chileans to the south, close to the quake’s epicenter.

“What has happened to us—the staff, the children, aging members and their families—is nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters to the south have suffered,” Leiva said. “We did not experience a tsunami. We lost homes, but not lives.”

Sponsors should keep in mind that mail in and out of Chile will be delayed as the country tends to its infrastructure and the staff restores program operations.

CFCA anticipates that sponsored children and aging members whose homes were not damaged will be affected by disruptions in supplies and services as the country’s scarce resources are diverted to the hard-hit south. CFCA is waiting for the Valparaiso staff to complete its assessment to determine what additional financial assistance is needed. Please continue to keep the people of Chile in your prayers.

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