Posts Tagged ‘ Chile ’

Lessons Learned in the Challenges of a Collaborative Studio

In just under three weeks, the GFRY studio made some major improvements to the Paso Moya Sede Social (Community Center). Located in one of the most severely affected regions (Maule) of the 2010 Chilean earthquake, the sede is home to several community groups. We sought to expand the utility of the sede and in the process, revitalize civic interest. Our plan included a series of architectural upgrades: a playground, signage, pavers and custom furniture in the front, a quincho and barbeque / fire pit in the back, and tool storage / checkout system inside.

Background

The two-semester studio took more twists and turns than a great roller coaster ride; each turn offered a new lesson, most of which could not be fully appreciated until the ride came to a complete and sudden stop. We began by researching the disaster context. As I’ve learned from thesis, it’s easy to get overly enamored by research. Instead of strengthening our overseas partnerships and developing a shared vision, we developed projects based on our personal interests. I partnered with two others from the start in the hopes that an early collective vision might make it to implementation. While this proved true, we created a solution looking for a user.

After a natural disaster, most governments (with the help of NGOs) manage to stabilize the food/shelter needs of its constituents. Most fail in the medium term (6 months to 3 years) recovery: restoring/improving esteem and social structure. My team saw that children were severely affected in this earthquake and sought to improve their post-disaster situation by building a play area (which psychologists widely consider important in recovery). By the time we solidified our partnerships, the community we were designing for turned out to be predominately elderly. Because of this, some community members pushed back at our use of space for a playground. This taught me the importance of understanding client needs early and affirming that understanding through feedback before the research phase.

In our first face-to-face meeting, our partners questioned our intentions and seemed to shoot down all of our project proposals. Other universities had come and promised much and delivered little. These were academic exercises. While faculty had every intention to deliver, that objective wasn’t even clear to students, as we received significant push back on every proposed expenditure. As a result, many developed very low budget proposals that related more to art than design. This taught me the importance of open communication with the broader team.

Implementation

Feelings were mixed going into the implementation phase. Without a confirmation of budget (to the students) and seemingly reserved support from our overseas partners, we weren’t sure what we were getting ourselves into. We had a game plan, but most projects take longer than anticipated. The bottom line: We had 12 work days to make everything happen.

The first few days were a scramble: get materials and equipment from Easy, clean the work site, lunch at Arturo’s, prepare for the town hall presentation of our plans and get feedback from the community less than 24 hours after arrival. It was too late to change large jobs. We trusted that our partners in the community had accurately gauged and communicated community needs. Fortunately, this proved to be mostly true.

I mainly worked on the playground and barbeque pit. In practical terms, everybody helped with everything: the quincho, the fence chalkboard, paving, foundation work, and documentation. We involved the community in volunteer shifts. Neighborhood kids helped paint. Locals pulled up on horse-drawn carts to drop off used tires. A passerby helped us break up and bury a giant cement block that we couldn’t remove.

Lessons

1. Leadership requires buy in. To convince people to follow your vision, you need to understand your constituency’s vision. Paul (faculty) involved us throughout the planning process and helped us combine diverse project interests under one community center renovation umbrella.

2. Activities that contribute little to tangible outcomes can still have significant intangible value. We took turns sledgehammering a giant cement block on a few afternoons. The progress was minimal; we could have rented a jackhammer for very little compared to the time investment. However, hammering proved incredibly therapeutic for the class. It contributed to harmony and group dynamics.

3. Failures are opportunities. We missed the bus to go horseback riding in the mountains, but took a trip to Conception instead. The visit opened our eyes to how another region reacted to the 2010 earthquake. We walked along a beautiful black sand beach and experienced another aspect of Chilean culture.

4. You have to trust your teammates to pull through for you. When you don’t have the time to accomplish everything by yourself, those good working relationships with your teammates really pay off. My hands weren’t agile enough to fasten interior bolts, but Cleo’s were. No one else could drill 3/4″ holes through tires, so I had to, in spite of the carpal tunnel.

5. Mortar is not glue. My barbecue stand fell apart when the form work was removed because cement has very little lateral strength. (Mig fixed it the next day.) Similarly, inflexibility as a team member creates an all-or-nothing dynamic that can damage morale and results.

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GFRY Chile Trip

We returned today from a long, politically- and emotionally-charged week in Chile. The result appears to be a significantly reduced role for our initial partner and sponsor in Chile (Reconstruye) and an introduction to another group (Surmaule) for what has been reframed as an academic exercise. This is disappointing because there is so much we could do for them as designers.

Walk through almost any neighborhood in Talca and you see completely leveled buildings next to standing ones. Shacks called mediaguas spring up in patches like mushrooms after a storm. A year later, people are still living in these shacks that take up very little of their actual land. Walls of roofing steel, aluminum siding and any wood scraps cordon off sidewalks from property lines. Chains and double locks maintain the illusion of security. Visit a small collective. The pool overflows with muddy rain water. An inflated shark pool toy leans against the wall as a reminder of things before the earthquake. A toilet seat balanced on a bucket becomes an outhouse. Each day the someone steals water from a fire hydrant to sanitize the family. A little girl looks fragile and frightened. She pokes at the pile of dirt and rubble with a stick.

Some of us cried at the neighborhood meeting in Seminario before taking the tour. What we saw was a shocking reality. How could the Chilean government leave its people in these conditions? A major part of the problem are the laws which allow only one home per family and landowner. Those that had multiple homes or condo units were entitled to only one mediagua and one reconstructed home on the city outskirts in exchange for their more valuable centrally-located land. This left several classes homeless: renters who faced rising rent in the face of diminished supply, those who lived on land inherited but did not have the paperwork to prove it, and those who through other legal reasons such as separation without divorce were unable to file a “legitimate” claim. As a result, large buildings that once housed several families are reduced to two room shacks. For many, “cramped” is an understatement.

Reconstruye’s approach for integrated social housing seems humane albeit difficult to execute. They find landowners that give up the vertical space on their land in exchange for construction that other tenants finance. By building higher, a finite amount of land can accommodate more families within their respective neighborhoods.

Beyond the architectural concerns are the psychosocial concerns. The people of Talca feel betrayed by the federal government and its local appointees. Many voiced identical sentiments to what one woman in Paso Mayo said, “I’m never going to forget it (the earthquake). It’s a psychological trauma that will remain for many years. The only thing keeping me going is my brother and his business.” Children have been similarly affected. Some remain in a fight-or-flight state. “My 12 year old girl used to get good grades but now she’s fallen from a 6.1 to 4.5 in school. Each aftershock causes her to lose control. My other child, a toddler, everything scares her now.”

There is a playground in the city center, but outside of that area, there is little for children to do in their free time. Older children sit around talking in the green areas, but younger ones kick rocks and visitor guides for entertainment. After school, they are shipped home in yellow minivans (which are privately contracted by parents). Once home, there is little to do. Community centers are bare and provide only a roof and wobbly chairs for adults to talk about reconstruction efforts. The central park area is too far away for a child aged 5-8 to wander towards alone. In addition to the stresses of changing schools and making new friends, children retire to crowded realities in undivided rooms they must share with their parents and other siblings.

While I remain interested in the idea of a mobile playground, it seems that a lack of funding and the relabeling of our work as an academic exercise may change priorities. The need is there. We received positive feedback from almost everyone we spoke to about it. But Surmaule doesn’t want to raise the hopes of the people as other universities have without delivering tangible results. Bottom line: we need to regroup.

GFRY: Early Stage Opportunity Identification

This week, we continued brainstorming opportunities that we thought our partners would be interested in. We then looked at what we thought the people of Talca would need. We then filtered these opportunities based on our own design interests to present three ideas.

GFRY People Module

Cleo, Vrinda and I looked at our GFRY partners in Chile, their past projects and their intended impacts in order to start thinking of ways in which we could collaborate. We started with a relationship map to document who works with whom in what capacity. Then we took a stab at breaking down past projects by category to understand the working methods and goals of our partner institutions. Finally, we took a first pass at projects that we thought could benefit our partners.

Six Month Update on 2010 Chile Earthquake

Six months after the 2010 earthquake in Chile, many are still displaced and getting accustomed to their new lives. This UNICEF video provides a view into the rebuilding process towards the end of the post-disaster Honeymoon stage where people are still hopeful for a government response in rebuilding.

Comparing 2010 Chile and Haiti Earthquakes

Synopsis: Differences in physical and socioeconomic infrastructure account for the difference between a disaster in Chile and a catastrophe in Haiti.

by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
March 1, 2010
(unedited translation)

I.

Chile has again been hit by an earthquake of apocalyptic magnitude, like in the earthquakes of 1938, 1960 and 1985. With the precision of a Swiss watch, the centre and south of the country is hit every 25 years by a seismic movement that puts the country in a state of deep shock. The earthquake we saw on 27 February was one of the strongest recorded in history – 8.8 degrees on the Richter scale, 9 on the Mercalli scale.

Chilean earthquake 1

The anguish of not knowing anything about our loved ones, of not being able to communicate with them, has followed the destruction, the isolation and death or disappearance of a great many people. Impotence is a shadow hanging over the heart. The death toll is now at about 700 – some are saying that they expect a final figure of about 2,000 when we eventually get the full picture of the devastation. Nothing is known yet about many in the affected provinces in the regions of Maule and Bío Bío. When people were still talking of about 300 killed, we learnt that the Constitución tsunami had swallowed up around 350 inhabitants, doubling the death toll. And we now know there were other places hit by tsunamis, though the extent of the damage is still unknown.

The consequences that this earthquake will have for the Chilean people are frightening. It was estimated shortly afterwards that at 2,000,0000 people had lost their homes and were literally on the streets. We’re talking of more than 10% of the total population, which gives you an idea of the daunting task of reconstruction ahead.

II.

Much has been said about the differences between Chile and Haiti – the earthquake in our brothers’ Caribbean republic produced a far higher death toll (300,000) and much greater damage, both in absolute and relative terms. There has been talk about the geological and seismological reasons, such as greater depth of the epicentre and the area where it happened, and they certainly did play a very clear role. But above all what must be looked at is the political, social and economic explanation of why an earthquake of greater magnitude in Chile had a much smaller impact.

Chilean earthquake 2

Chile, indeed, can hardly be compared to Haiti: it has a much better infrastructure, a far less dependent and stunted economy than Haiti’s (whereas Haiti is an extreme case within the context of Latin America, Chile has enjoyed half a century of national developmentalist regimes that has left its mark to this day) and a much, much better response capacity to natural disasters by its institutions. Poverty in Chile does not reach such sordid levels as it does in Haiti, where the population in the capital’s suburbs has had to resort to eating mud cookies to trick their hunger. Obviously none of this is due to some sort of Chilean “superiority”, of the sort that local chauvinists have been spouting, with comparisons that are as wrong as they are hateful (such as “Chileans work harder, they are more resourceful, more this, more that”…), but is mainly due to the different histories of the two republics – histories that have diverged even since colonial times, as well as the fact that Chile was never turned into a plantation country, a maquiladora country, nor was it ever directly occupied or looted by the USA. Chile is also a country with a long history of earthquakes, a fact which gave it “an advantage” over Haiti.

III.

Even so, there has been little debate about the similarities. The most obvious is the fact that those who are suffering most are the poor. Even though an earthquake hits everyone equally, some are better prepared than others to deal with the quake and the difficulties that follow. Chile has not been an exception to this rule and the worst-hit sectors are the poor neighbourhoods, with houses made of adobe. Besides, we know from reliable witnesses that aid to the townships is too late in coming and inadequate – these areas are not a priority for anyone, even though they are the sectors where aid should be concentrated due to the precarious conditions of their inhabitants.

Secondly, much of the devastation is due to inadequate infrastructure. With the country having a good deal of earthquake experience and after the big quake that hit half the country in 1985, there was some awareness of the need to create infrastructure that can withstand the shocks of such a tectonically-active area as Chile. However, in the mid-’90s, the Concertación, which has continued the disastrous neo-liberal model inherited from the dictatorship, began with the privatisation and outsourcing of public works companies (many of which are multinationals), which will never answer for the bridges, motorways and roads whose destruction has immobilised the country, leaving thousands abandoned and isolated on their journeys. It is noteworthy that many of the projects carried out by the Department of Public Works several decades ago are still standing, whereas expensive roads built only a few years ago have crumbled like biscuits, despite their enormous cost. I can personally testify to the reason for the fragility of these roadworks: at the beginning of 2003 I was working on the Rancagua by-pass in Doñihue. When the geologist recommended clearing 1.80 metres, 2 metres in some sections due to unstable ground, in order to save costs, the JCB operator was ordered to dig no deeper than 30 centimetres. We knew that those roads would not last more than 10 years. Now the earthquake will provide a handy excuse to explain their destruction, but the fact that public infrastructure remains standing, while privatised infrastructure has collapsed, is an undeniable fact.

The same is true of housing. From the late ‘90s, with the scandal of the COPEVA houses, which after only a few months began to crack and leak, with owners having to wrap them in plastic sheeting for the winter (and with many simply being demolished shortly after), it is clear that the (anti)social housing policy in the country – and housing in general – is just a business for real estate capitalists. A business, moreover, facilitated by all sorts of corruption and negligence by the Concertación governments themselves, some of whose members were directly involved in this lucrative business. Remember that the COPEVA scandal was linked to the name of Christian Democrat interior minister, Pérez Yoma. Today we see many modern buildings, many housing projects of people who with great sacrifice had managed to attain their “dream of owning a home” now at rock bottom, with serious structural damage making their houses uninhabitable. The most dramatic was the 15-story building that collapsed in Concepción with about a hundred people inside, a building, still with apartments for sale. It is true that such a powerful earthquake will always cause damage and enough can never be done to avoid casualties, but how on earth can we justify the most recent constructions being the ones which suffer most damage?

As in Haiti, it is likely that no capitalist will ever be held accountable for such criminal acts. It is therefore necessary that the people mobilise and demand justice, since the privatisation policy of public works, property and roads is an overtly criminal policy, as this earthquake shows. Some officials are responsible for this and if the people do not demand a response from them, they will never be held responsible.

IV.

Another similarity with Haiti is the repressive response and the militarisation of humanitarian aid. Although both cases are obviously different (in Haiti the humanitarian militarisation has served to entrench the country’s occupation and delivered an important geo-strategic enclave to the USA, something that makes perfect sense given its plan to militarise the Caribbean region and restructure its hegemony in Latin America), in both cases hysteria over “looters” has been used to justify the presence of armed forces to protect the interests of the elite.

Chilean earthquake 3

In Concepción, many people have seen no help of any kind for a day and a half. This is especially true in the working-class neighbourhoods where for too long little or nothing arrived. Out of desperation, people simply resort to the most basic impulse of human beings – survive! The people went to supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies to get the most basic elements, something to feed their families with. Or should we have expected people to lie idle, put up with fatigue, hunger and thirst, while the supermarkets were full of goods? These were ordinary people, the common people – mothers, fathers, young people who ran off with cartons of milk, rice, whatever they could find.

“Looters!” cried the authorities, demonising the just demand of the right to live, to eat, to quench one’s thirst, to look after one’s children. They distorted the story to the point of saying that there is no need for “looting”, that people were stealing only luxury items, electrical goods or CDs and DVDs, when the truth is otherwise. All it needed in the end was for a couple of banks to be targeted and there was absolute hysteria. “Scum”, they shouted, to dehumanise hungry and needy people, a flexible word always ready to be used to justify police murder. In the Pinochet era they were called “humanoids” – the term changes; the repressive political idea is the same.

The same “scum” in New Orleans and Port-au-Prince were now appearing on the streets of Concepción, and from the very first, president-elect Sebastián Piñera, along with his cronies in local governments like Dr. [Jacqueline] Van Rysselberghe in Concepción, took offence at how little these ruined people respected the property of the big supermarket chains. And while aid was slow in coming, it was no problem to mobilise a few thousand soldiers to enforce martial law in Concepción. While no water was reaching thirsty mouths, it cost them nothing to fill the tanks of the water cannon to suppress the “scum” who were “plundering” “honest” businesses like Lider (Wal Mart) and Santa Isabel. The government decreed a State of Siege and Curfew, echoing the political Right and the big entrepreneurs and businessmen who, while babbling about “solidarity”, are not willing even to offer the people a few packets of rice in their supermarkets. Resorting to this type of behaviour has not been done since 1987 – in other words, for those who have a short memory, since the time of the dictatorship. This shows that certain authoritarian habits have not died, even after two decades of “controlled democracy”.

Good citizens are now being asked to queue, to go hungry and thirsty and put up with their children’s crying. Order has been restored again thanks to the jackboot. Private property is once again untouchable.

It is in times of crisis when the system shows its real face. And Concepción, like Port-au-Prince, shows it off in all its cruelty – the property of the capitalists is more important than the lives and welfare of hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need. It is no coincidence that capitalism is often described as “wild”.

V.

But Haiti and Chile are nonetheless similar, because need brings out that essential instinct of mutual aid that allows people to survive, move forward and become rightful players in history. It is up to the popular sectors to encourage and develop these trends towards popular organization and solidarity, so that they can develop beyond the level of mere survival; so that they can contribute towards the creation of a new society, a caring society, a libertarian society, that can shed the heavy burden of individualism forced on us by the fierce neo-liberal model implemented by the dictatorship and further entrenched at the hands of the “controlled democracy”.

Among the many messages of support I have received from friends and comrades in these distressing hours, I would like to note in particular the not inconsiderable number of solidarity messages I received from Haitian brothers and sisters. Through their own pain, they are still able to take the time to show their solidarity with the Chilean people. We feel their pain, and now they feel ours.

One comrade from Grandans (Grand’Anse) wrote to me immediately on Saturday: “Dear José Antonio, I appreciate your solidarity efforts with the Haitian people. Today I feel very touched by the violent, massive earthquake in Chile. I hope your family come out of this earthquake alive and well, and that your country recovers quickly. We are ready to share the little we have with you, if necessary. So long, Maxime Roumer”.

Messages like this remind me that solidarity is the peoples’ tenderness.

News Clippings From 2010 Chile Earthquake

February 27, 2010 – MSNBC
Aftershocks of the Chile Earthquake

Local radio reported up to 150 could have been killed or hurt in a collapsed 14-story building in the hard-hit Concepcion, where firemen were working to put out fires throughout the city. One fire was in the science department in the local university. At least 23 aftershocks were reported, including one registering at 6.9 on the Richter scale. TV Chile reported that a 15-story building collapsed in Concepcion, where buildings caught fire, bridges collapsed and cracks opened up in the streets. Cars turned upside down lay scattered on one damaged highway bridge. The town’s historic center, filled with buildings of adobe mud and straw, largely collapsed, though most of those were businesses that were not inhabited when the quake struck. Neighbors pulled at least five people from the rubble while emergency workers, themselves disoriented, asked for information from reporters. Many roads were destroyed, and electricity, water and phone lines were cut to many areas — meaning there was no word of death or damage from many outlying areas. Experts warned that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific, and Hawaii could face its largest waves since 1964 starting at 11:19 a.m. (4:19 p.m. EST), according to Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

February 27, 2010 – NY Times
1.5 Million Displaced After Chile Quake

More than 1.5 million people have displaced by the quake, according to local news services that quoted the director of Chile’s emergency management office. In Concepción, which appeared to be especially hard hit, the mayor said Sunday morning that 100 people were trapped under the rubble of a building that had collapsed, according to Reuters. Elsewhere in Concepción, cars lay mangled and upended on streets littered with telephone wires and power cables. A new 14-story apartment building fell, while an older, biochemical lab at the University of Concepción caught fire. In the nearby port of Talcahuano, a giant wave flooded the main square before receding and leaving behind a large fishing boat on the city streets. While this earthquake was far stronger than the 7.0-magnitude one that ravaged Haiti six weeks ago, the damage and death toll in Chile are likely to be far less extensive, in part because of strict building codes put in place after devastating earthquakes.

March 1, 2010 – Best Syndication News
Looters Move Into Cities After Chile Earthquake

Looting and fear of gangs has hampered the rescue efforts in Chile Monday after a magnitude 8.8 earthquake shook the country early Saturday morning (see list of largest quakes below). Similar to the situation following hurricane Katrina and the Los Angeles riots of 1992, residents and businesses of the cities and outlying areas are falling victim to looters. Fire and police officials are staying home to protect their property. Mayor of Concepción, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, has made a plea to firefighters to come back to work. She said that since the onslaught of riots and fear of gangs moving into the city, firefighters have stayed home to protect their families.

March 1, 2010 – Infosurhoy.com
World promises to help Chile in rebuilding efforts

The United States and Europe promised financial support to Chile as teams of international relief workers descended on the South American nation, which suffered the Western Hemisphere’s second massive earthquake in seven weeks, according to Agence France-Presse. Chile, one of South America’s richest countries, appreciates the help but wanted to survey the total extent of the damage before beginning any relief effort. The earthquake is believed to have damaged more than a million homes, caused cracks in roads, left millions without power and damaged the airport in the capital of Santiago, according to AFP. But the most severe damage happened in Concepción, the nation’s second-largest city about 310 miles south of Santiago, which was very close to the epicenter.

Red Cross confident it can simultaneously coordinate relief efforts in Chile and Haiti

The Red Cross’ mission just got a lot harder, as the organization now must coordinate assistance in Chile, while sustaining a major, long-term rebuilding project in Haiti. “Organizations like ours are able to coordinate on multiple disasters,” said Red Cross spokesman Eric Porterfield, citing as an example the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China’s Sichuan province in May 2008, to the Los Angeles Times. In the seven weeks since Haiti was rocked by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the Red Cross raised US$322 million, and Porterfield envisions another emergency account being set up to help Chileans, according to the Los Angeles Times. Doctors Without Borders already has sent a staff to Chile in addition to numerous medical personnel it has stationed throughout Haiti. The next test is for smaller charities to be able to generate money for Chile as successfully as they did for Haiti. “The nongovernmental organizations have been tapped out and stretched by the tough economy,” said Thomas Tighe, president and chief executive of Direct Relief International, based in Goleta, Calif., to the Los Angeles Times. “I’m not sure if there was another Haiti next week that people could do the same. But our assumption is that if there is a precise need and compelling case, people will step up.”

Google starts a ‘person finder’ to locate Chile earthquake victims

Google has created a “person finder,” an online tool that helps relatives and friends connect with loved ones in the wake of the massive, 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Chile, according to Agence France-Presse. Google’s “Person Finder: Chile Earthquake” can be accessed at Chilepersonfinder.appspot.com and allows use of the application in English or Spanish. It asks those who log on “What is your situation?” and offers the choice between “I’m looking for someone” and “I have information about someone.” Users can search for a person’s name or information. The site for Chile, which already has more than 1,400 records that can be searched, is modeled after the one the Internet company already started following the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, which has nearly 60,000 records available for searching, according to AFP.

World’s largest retailer to make initial, US$1 million donation to Chile’s relief effort

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has made an initial donation of US$1 million to help the earthquake relief effort in Chile. “With the impact of this earthquake on our own communities, customers, associates and suppliers, we wanted to reach out with assistance as soon as possible,” Eduardo Solórzano, who heads Wal-Mart Latin America, wrote in a statement. The company employs a workforce of about 34,000 at the D&S food store chain in Chile that it purchased in January of last year, but it is unknown the extent of damage the earthquake inflicted on the stores, according to Business Week.

March 9, 2010 – Infosurhoy.com
Children return to school in Chile

Hundreds of thousands of Chilean kids returned to class on March 8 for the first time following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the nation. “It’s good for the children to go back to school because they will focus on their [studies],” a mother told Agence France-Presse as she dropped off her son at Subcaseaux Junior High School in the nation’s capital. Teachers received training on how to help students with “lots of love, lots of willingness to listen.” Students were eager to see their friends who they feared were killed by the earthquake or tsunamis, according to Mónica Jiménez, the country’s education minister. “I missed my friends, I’ve been afraid of the aftershocks,” a boy said to AFP just before entering class for the first time since the end of the southern hemisphere’s summer. The only schools that remain closed are the ones in Maule and Bio-Bio – the two regions that suffered the most damage – but they are expected to open later this month or in early April. It is estimated that 7,000 kids attended schools that were deemed unusable because of the natural disasters, which caused the students to be transferred to schools in other districts, according to Pablo Zalaquet, Santiago’s mayor.

March 10, 2010 – Infosurhoy.com
Chilean government provides water, restores electricity to majority in battered nation

Chile has moved beyond the emergency response part of the recovery process from the earthquake, as it has provided food, shelter and medical assistance to those in areas that were most affected by the event on Feb. 27. “We are surpassing the toughest phase of the emergency, as we have been able to give water, food and shelter to the thousands of victims affected in the center-south of the territory,” Patricio Rosende, the country’s interior vice minister told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. He said the government has set up water distribution points in the areas that sustained the most damage. Rosende added that about 10.6 million have had water service returned to their homes, 589,000 are getting their water via trucks, and electricity has returned to 90% of buildings. “There will be subsidies for the families to repair their houses,” he told Xinhua, adding there were 23,248 buildings that were damaged, and 6,378 more that were considered severely damaged. “If the damages are irreparable, and the related directions of the municipalities declare the buildings uninhabitable for the families, they could receive a new subsidy.”

Apr 2, 2010 – Press Release
CAFE Partners with SEPADE to Help with Earthquake Reconstruction in Chile

In February, Canadian Aid for Education (CAFE) launched a response to the massive earthquake and tsunami which struck southern Chile on February 27th, 2010. Scott Clerk, a CAFE volunteer, visiting Chile during March, was able to visit several of the cities most affected by the disaster. During that visit, CAFE was able to meet with local authorities and educational institutions to assess reconstruction projects. CAFE has agreed to partner with SEPADE, an educational NGO based in Concepcion, Chile. SEPADE runs several high schools, where low-income and at-risk youth can receive a high quality education. Furthermore, SEPADE alsoworks with neighbourhood groups to build their capacity to take the lead in the development of their communities. The selected project, to be organized in the cities of Lota and Coronel, will allow students to become protagonists in the reconstruction effort, by proposing and implementing their own rebuilding projects. CAFE looks forward to working with SEPADE in the future, and being a part of their transformative educational efforts.