Monday, March 8, 2010
Chile se la pueda--Chile you can do it!
Fr. Eugenio Valenzuela, SJ, Jesuit provincial of Chile, has reported on damage after the earthquake in Chile and efforts to bring order back to the country. Here's what he had to say today:
In most of our apostolic works we can count on the help of expert professionals assessing the damage caused by the earthquake to our equipment and buildings. However, we know that we have to replace our damaged equipment and to seek ways to repair some of them.
Listening everyday to the news about how the earthquake and the tsunami have affected and damaged our country, we are more aware that we have to face a hard and long reconstruction in our country.
We are launching campaigns in order to collect food, water, diapers, mattresses, blankets, tents, etc. Some are also aimed at recruiting volunteers. All these donations are going to be sent to the most affected areas of our country. Hogar de Cristo coordinates the donations shipments. Christian Life Communities support the campaigns led by Un Techo Para Chile with volunteers in Hogar de Cristo and also building housing and making arrangements for hosting migrants.
All the members of the Jesuit communities in Santiago are supporting in many ways the different initiatives by: volunteering, repairing houses, hosting victims of the earthquake, etc.
REGIONS AND APOSTOLIC WORKS
Communications between one part of the city to the other one are broken. Three of the four bridges are not working. One bridge is working without any kind of technical evaluation or study. Today the Chilean army is trying to build an emergency bridge. Many buildings have to be demolished and the oldest buildings have collapsed.
Talcahuano, which is the port of Concepcion and the most important and largest port in the country, was destroyed by the earthquake.
As a response to this tragedy, the community of Concepcion has been organizing itself block by block for surveillance, forming soup kitchens, and to take care of children
Don Ricardo, Bishop of Concepcion said that many pastors and priests are working hard in order to support and help their parish communities. As always, the local Catholic Church is a natural place where communities can get relief and aid to meet their needs. He also said that many churches collapsed and others including the Cathedral were severely damaged.
HOGAR DE CRISTO
Since the catastrophe happened we got all hands on deck and have launched a national campaign “!CHILE SE LA PUEDE!” which means “Chile you can do it.” Through this campaign we encourage people to make their donations (money, non-perishable food, blankets, coal, diapers, etc.). It is a successful campaign so far and we have had a great response from the Chilean population as well as from many volunteers who are joining us from different parts of our country. This shows the strong commitment and solidarity that many people have with other Chileans who are suffering.
However, there are thousands of victims of this powerful earthquake that are waiting for our support and assistance.
Hogar de Cristo has in all its apostolic works and foundations a common time to pray and reflect and invites everyone to join in prayer with their workers, volunteers, guests, and the community.
UN TECHO PARA CHILE
Our institution already sent 100 volunteers to southern Chile. They have started to build 20 emergency houses. This is part of the reconstruction program asked of us by Chile government. The goal is to build 30,000 emergency houses in the most affected areas. At the same time other professionals from Un Techo para Chile are already assessing the damage in situ (in the affected areas). Everyday buses with volunteers are leaving Santiago for Constitucion where reconstruction has begun. Also about 3,000 volunteers are working in the removal of debris in the city of Santiago.
Thanks to Ana Maria Goonan for her translation of Fr. Valenzuela's report.