Thursday, March 04, 2010

Chile: "People need everything," in fishing town of Dichato

World Vision staff began distributing food and relief supplies yesterday in towns hard-hit by Saturday's 8.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunamis.

Following assessments Tuesday, staff from the Christian humanitarian organization distributed water, food, blankets, diapers and other infant items in the town of Dichato, located about 40 miles 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. There is death everywhere: dead dogs in the street, dust, garbage. It's devastated."

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.

World Vision sent trucks from Santiago today with additional food, water, diapers and other infant items for distribution later this week in Dichato and Lota, located 25 miles 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 centers where children can enjoy activities such as music, theater and games in a structured and supervised environment.

The first Child-Friendly Space will likely focus on the 300 children under five years old in Dichato. Additional centers will focus on activities for older children.

World Vision is a Christian organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice worldwide. We serve all people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and gender. For more information, please visit

SOURCE World Vision U.S.

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