Chile 2010

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As of March 4th, 2010 USAID reports. http://www.usaid.gov/helpchile/

BACKGROUND AND KEY DEVELOPMENTS

  • The Government of Chile (GoC) has revised the death toll to 795 people, including more than 550 reported deaths in Maule Region. To date more than 40 percent of all reported deaths occurred in most-affected Concepción city, Maule Region, located 70 miles northeast of the earthquake's epicenter.
  • On March 2, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton briefly met with GoC President Michelle Bachelet and President-elect Sebastian Piñera in Santiago, Chile, as part of a regional tour of five Latin American countries. Secretary Clinton’s team also delivered 20 satellite phones provided by USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to assist the GoC with communications in affected areas until telephone networks can be repaired. USAID/OFDA’s senior communications specialist accompanied the team to provide related training and technical assistance. In the coming days, the U.S. Government (USG) plans to provide at least 40 additional satellite phones.
  • A six-person USAID/OFDA assessment team is currently in Chile conducting assessments of earthquake-affected areas, in coordination with U.S. Embassy personnel and GoC officials. A USAID/OFDA team member is based at the GoC National Office of Emergencies and Information (ONEMI) Emergency Operations Center to facilitate information sharing. On March 3, the assessment team will travel to Concepción and Talca cities to conduct preliminary assessments of humanitarian conditions and earthquake damage.
  • The GoC has established an air bridge to Concepción and Chillán cities, forward distributing relief supplies from the airfields to localities in the surrounding area by air and land, including the Juan Fernández archipelago. The GoC is also providing relief items to affected individuals in the populated coastal areas of Maule and BíoBío regions with the assistance of the Chilean Armada.
  • Chilean firefighters and emergency rescue workers continue to conduct rescue operations in earthquake-affected areas. Multiple international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams, including a USAID/OFDA-supported USAR team, remain on standby to deploy to Chile, if necessary.

CURRENT SITUATION

  • The GoC has identified priority needs in affected areas, including temporary bridges, field hospitals and dialysis units, satellite telephones, generators, water purification systems, large tents, and field kitchens. The USG continues to work with ONEMI and Chilean military counterparts to provide critical items requested by the GoC.
  • On March 2, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released an emergency appeal valued at $6.4 million to support the ongoing emergency activities of the Chilean Red Cross (CRS). On February 28, IFRC also released approximately $279,000 in emergency funds to support CRS operations.
  • On March 1, CRC and the IFRC representatives participated in an aerial assessment of most-affected regions, including Curicó and Talca cities and the tsunami-affected coastal areas. On March 1, CRS reports limited contact with branch offices in affected zones, where volunteers are currently providing first aid. CRS maintains 29 branches in BíoBío Region and 14 branches in the Maule Region, areas most-affected by the earthquake.

Restoration of Public Services

  • According to the GoC, electricity has been restored to 80 percent of pre-earthquake capacity in Valparaíso Region and nearly 100 percent in Los Ríos Region, while workers continue to gradually restore electricity to parts of Metropolitana Region. According to the GoC, potable water is wholly unavailable in Maule Region through the existing network, due to damage to infrastructure and water facilities. As a result, the private sector has begun water tankering operations in the region. The GoC also reports that lack of potable water in parts of Valparaíso and Metropolitana regions.

Health

  • According to the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, the earthquake severely damaged or destroyed 19 hospitals in affected areas. The Chilean Ministry of Health indicated that hospitals that sustained the most damage are located in Putaendo city in Valparaíso region and Curico, Licanten, Hualañé, Talca, and Parral cities in Maule region. Patients in damaged facilities have been transferred to alternative medical facilities.
  • According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Government of Argentina, in coordination with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) is sending a large-capacity field hospital to affected areas. PAHO plans to establish four additional field hospitals in the coming week.
  • Since 1998, USAID/OFDA has provided PAHO with $12.6 million in regional disaster preparedness funding to support PAHO's efforts to improve disaster preparedness and response in the health sector in Latin America. With USAID/OFDA funding, PAHO continues to work with local and national government counterparts to ensure that heath facilities throughout the region have the capacity to operate during and immediately after disasters.

USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

  • On February 27, USAID activated a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team to coordinate the USG response to the earthquake in Chile and facilitate information sharing and provision of assistance to earthquake-affected individuals.
  • On February 28, U.S. Ambassador Paul E. Simons issued a disaster declaration in response to effects of the earthquake. In anticipation of the disaster declaration, USAID/OFDA provided an initial $50,000 for the provision and transport of emergency relief commodities through the U.S. Embassy in Santiago.
  • USAID/OFDA has deployed a regional advisor, senior communications specialist, and a field officer to Chile, in addition to activating three regionally-based disaster management experts to conduct assessments of affected areas, in coordination with U.S. Embassy personnel and GoC officials.
  • USAID/OFDA and DoD are providing an initial 28 satellite telephones to the GoC to facilitate communications until telephone networks in affected areas are repaired.
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