Quake strikes in Chile, triggers tsunami warnings
Updated April 2, 2014
VALPARAISO, Chile — Sponsored friends are safe after an 8.2-magnitude earthquake off the coast of northern Chile triggered tsunami warnings for the Pacific coast of South and Central America. The warnings covered several countries where Unbound works.
Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua – all countries where Unbound has projects – were among the countries reported at risk for a tsunami. The tsunami warnings were later canceled for all of the countries except Chile and Peru.
"The area of the earthquake's epicenter is in a region distant from Valparaiso, so we did not feel much of the effects of the earthquake," said Luis Olivares, an Unbound staff member in Chile. "Today, children have no classes because of the potential for aftershocks and the tsunami alert."
Unbound's project in Guayaquil, Ecuador, reported that sponsored friends and their families were not affected by the earthquake, but the tsunami alert caused confusion for those living in communities near the ocean. Richard Carchi, Guayaquil project coordinator, said that some people evacuated their homes to higher ground, but shortly afterward the alert was canceled.
"Besides the possibility of a tsunami affecting those in the area, sponsored families face the possibility of their homes being robbed when they have to evacuate to higher lands, leaving their houses unattended," Carchi said. "The headquarters in Ecuador is in the process of contacting local leaders to find out if any family was affected in some way."
The earthquake struck about 6:46 p.m. local time and was centered near the mining town of Iquique, Chile, close to the Peruvian border.
The closest Unbound project in Chile is based in Valparaiso, about 900 miles to the south.
In Peru, Unbound serves families in Arequipa, about 400 miles north of the epicenter, and in Lima, about 1,000 miles north of the quake's center.
The tsunami alerts in Peru led to a precautionary evacuation to higher ground. Henry J. Perez Miranda, Lima project coordinator, said areas of Lima and Callo were among those evacuated.
"Thanks be to God we were not affected, even though the southern areas of Peru did feel it on the coast without harsh consequences," Miranda said. "All of the Unbound Peru family sends our solidarity greetings to our brothers and sisters in Chile."
News reports said waves topping six feet may have hit near the town of Pisagua, in northern Chile, within about 44 minutes of the earthquake.
Chile was impacted by a tsunami after an earthquake in 2010.
Please join the Unbound worldwide community as we keep those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami warnings in our thoughts and prayers.