Salvation Army officer in Santiago, Chile after an 8.8 earthquake.

Salvation Army officer in Santiago, Chile after an 8.8 earthquake.

from Salvation Army International Headquarters

Following a devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile during the early hours of Saturday morning (27 February) Salvation Army emergency services were immediately mobilised to provide support and comfort and international financial assistance is already on the way.

Lieut-Colonel Mike Caffull, the emergency services coordinator for The Salvation Army International Headquarters (IHQ) in London reports that IHQ has already agreed to provide financial assistance for the Chilean Salvationists initial relief response. He said assistance coordinated by the IHQ emergency team will also be provided regarding ongoing relief in the medium and long term.

Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army in South America West, Lieut-Colonel F. Bradford Bailey says that the immediate response is to provide food, water, first aid kits, emergency packets, blankets, candles and other urgently required supplies. A recently arrived mobile canteen (a donation from the USA Southern Territory) is one of the key relief vehicles.

The earthquake epicentre was approximately 90 miles (150 kilometres) north west of the city of Concepción in Southern Chile. Lieut-Colonel Bailey says that this is approximately 350 miles (600 kilometres) from the capital of Santiago, ‘nevertheless, the quake was of a 7.0 magnitude in the Santiago metropolitan region’. He adds that people have flocked to the streets ‘as numerous aftershocks continue to pummel’ the country, severely affecting older buildings in the more historical areas of the larger cities.

Water, gas and electricity has been cut off in affected areas and will stay disconnected until relevant emergency crews can assess the damage and prioritise immediate needs.

The colonel says that in these early hours after the quake it has been extremely difficult to communicate with Salvation Army centres throughout the country as all phone lines (mobile and land) have been disrupted.

‘However, preliminary reports are reassuring in terms of Salvation Army personnel.’

At the time of writing this news release the colonel was not able to provide information regarding Salvation Army property.

Please pray for the people of Chile.