Earthquake Strikes Chile, Triggers Tsunamis: Week of Compassion Reaches out to Partners

A devastating magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early this morning, Saturday, February 27, 2010, shattering buildings and bridges, killing at least 78 people and setting off a tsunami that threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe.

Messages of compassion, concern and support have been sent to Rev. Ulises Muñoz, Obispo Iglesia Pentecostal de Chile; Rosario Castillo, Educación Popular en Salud (EPES); Dora Canales, Comunidad Teológica de Chile, Disciples/UCC-Global Ministries Partners, and Elena Huegel, missionary with Global Ministries. 

Praise be to God, we have received news from the Bishop of the Pentecostal Church of Chile, who has not heard of any deaths of church members.  There was some damage of homes in Curico and Talca, but homes were not destroyed.  Elena Huegel, our beloved friend and missionary, was in the mountains at Centro Shalom with the whole staff.  Everyone is well and they are on their way down from the mountain.  Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers. 

Church World Service emergency response staff have also been in contact with colleagues on the ground in Chile, who report their people are safe. CWS has worked in Chile to provide emergency preparedness training and assistance to the country's sizable population of Colombians, displaced to Chile by conflict.  CWS works with two Chilean agencies, FASIC (Fundacion de Ayuda Social de las Iglesia Cristianas) and IMECH, the Methodist Church of Chile.

As part of the international ACT Alliance network, CWS will work to provide emergency assistance such as food, water and shelter to those affected by this disaster.  CWS staff continue to be in contact with people in Chile and colleagues in other ACT Alliance agencies to ensure a timely and responsible response.  CWS staff are also preparing for a tsunami response in Hawaii should any be needed.

Week of Compassion emergency solidarity grants were immediately authorized for three Global Ministries partners in Chile and Church World Service to support relief initiatives.

Week of Compassion and Global Ministries staff are monitoring the unfolding disaster situation and will continue to update you as we receive more information. 

How Can You  Help?

1. Pray for the people of Chile, their leaders, our partners, and emergency response workers.

2. Please help the people of Chile by sending or donating on-line gifts to Week of Compassion, designated for Chile Earthquake and Tsunami Relief.

Thank you for your ongoing support, trust, and courageous compassion.  We continue to trust in God's ubiquitous presence and love.