On air: Chile earthquake

An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the richter scale shook Chile in the in the early morning hours of February 27.

Strong aftershocks, some up to 6 points on the Richter scale, continued day and night and into Sunday.

Islands and countries across the Pacific were put on tsunami alert. Although this has now be lifted.

Despite Chile’s earth quake being many times more powerful than the one in Haiti, at the time of writing this the official death toll had just passed 700. This blogger say, “Scrolling through the photos at Boston.com’s Big Picture it is almost impossible to believe that the death count is still under 1,000. Surely that number will rise over the next few days and weeks.

But Chile is a country used to earthquakes and was prepared for earthquakes in a way that a country such as Haiti was not.

Here this blogger comments on their preparedness, “The Chilean government, society, and people should be praised for their readiness in dealing with such a catastrophic natural disaster.”

Despite being ready for an earthquake the death toll is still on the raise and looting has started.  International aid has started to arrive.

Many people on twitter are asking how they can help. Victor_rao tweets: Lets Pray God for his mercy on the left-outs of recent Chile Earthquake and Tsunami. Lets do our part to help them in a best possible way.

Google has responded by setting up a missing person finder which is a simple web service that allows users to search for missing people.

Have you been effected by the earthquake in Chile? How do you feel about what has happened? Has your reaction to the Chile earthquake been as strong as it was to the one in Haiti?

41 Responses to “On air: Chile earthquake”

  1. March 1, 2010 at 11:42

    Give me a BREAK!

    Had this earthquake been a few miles from Santiago, and at the same depth as the Haiti quake, then we would have something to compare.

    Do you think that the clever engineers and architects would “be praised” if an 8.8 earthquake happened a few miles beneath in London? I think time would stop for half a million.

    There is NOTHING to compare here unless you just want to talk about horrible deaths.

  2. March 1, 2010 at 11:57

    Very shocking again……..let us be united to rescue and rehabilitate effected peoples, animals as well.

  3. 3 @guykaks
    March 1, 2010 at 12:58

    This is another sad situation for the people of chile..We should not compare this with the one in Haiti.This is a natural calamities which need no chest thumping and saying bla bla which in essence dont count or give value.On the contrary we should be prepared for anything

  4. 4 Cabe UK
    March 1, 2010 at 13:14

    I think the engineers should be praised! All the buildings there have a kind of suspension built into their foundations so that they absorbed the majority of impact. That is a feat in itself ( – earthquake obsessed Japan – take note!)
    Shame about the looting though – they should have trained their population to go help dig out all those buried and in need instead of thinking about themselves.

  5. 5 patti in cape coral
    March 1, 2010 at 13:48

    I heard on the news that the outlying parts of the country are getting disheartened about the lack of governmental assistance, and they are worried that the aid being delivered is concentrating only on Santiago and the areas closest to it.

    I don’t think it would be helpful to make comparisons between Chile and Haiti, unless the comparisons in building codes are used to make improvements.

  6. 6 Nigel
    March 1, 2010 at 13:56

    Chile is a lot more prepared, is much more developed and has much less poverty so comparison of the two is not fair. Even though the Chile quake was much higher on the Richter Scale than Haiti a lot of the dynamics of the two shakes were sufficiently different that on scale they cannot be fairly compared.

  7. 7 T
    March 1, 2010 at 14:21

    I just hope that the same poltiics that happened with Haitian aid doesn’t happen again in Chile.

  8. 8 Linda from Italy
    March 1, 2010 at 14:37

    A point that may well be considered a side issue but that I’d like to bring up, following on from the reporting of both earthquakes, is this branding of people helping themselves to the supplies they need for their survival as “looters”.
    The reports I heard did mention some people running off with TVs and things, but on the whole, the people, especially a woman with a baby who was interviewed on the WS, were only taking a necessary initiative to safeguard the wellbeing, if not the lives, of themselves and their families.
    The news item in question was followed up by reports of troops deployed to quell the “disorder”, with tear gas, high pressure hoses and presumably other weapons, which just seems another example of skewed priorities. Obviously the perfect situation would involve a fair and orderly distribution of necessities, but, given the inevitable breakdown of communications and infrastructure, this is rarely possible in the immediate aftermath of such a disaster. If it was indeed possible to muster troops that quickly, why were they not employed in “liberating” essential supplies from supermarkets etc. and making sure there was at least some fairness of distribution?

    • 9 patti in cape coral
      March 1, 2010 at 16:04

      @ Linda- Exactly! On the news they said there were reports of looting from people in search of food and water. Surely this isn’t really looting, is it?

      • 10 Saut
        March 1, 2010 at 20:00

        When I was working in Japan in the 80s, residents were advised to store food and drink rations, protective gear like helmets and some clothing in a small knapsack, ready for use in an emergency. Chileans should from now on: be prepared.

  9. 11 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 1, 2010 at 15:47

    I’m from Southern California, have experienced many earthquakes, know about the value of building codes and earthquake preparedness. The Chilean authorities deserve praise for their building codes, disaster response and the Chilean people deserve credit for their response to the earthquake.

    The term “looting” is misused in such a context. If I were a diabetic mother of a small child, was out of insulin, and the pharmacy did not open after the quake for whatever reason, I would not hesitate to break into the pharmacy to get the insulin that would save my life and thus the life of my baby. This is not looting, it is rational, necessary disaster response on a personal level.

    As to comparing earthquakes, that’s dicey job. You can compare Chili, Japan, and the West Coast of the USA to one another. You can compare Haiti, Iran and Italy to one another, but not to the first grouping. The second grouping, though totally different geographically, culturally and in development, all share a regrettable lack of building codes. If you look at the destruction and loss of life in the recent Haitian earthquake, in the 2009 Italian earthquake and the earthquake in Bam in Iran a few years ago, it is evident that the lack of earthquake preparedness and the lack of building codes, properly enforced, was the cause of much damage and loss of life.

    Again, kudos to the Chileans for having and enforcing strict building codes and for having disaster relief plans that, even if they can’t cope with a disaster of this magnitude, at least tried to,

  10. March 1, 2010 at 15:51

    unfortunately, the past week was fraught with natural disasters claiming lives, from Europe where there were storms and floods to Chile which has seen its worst earthquakes in decades.

    Comparatively, Chile can cope as it has the resources to do so and also thanks to its earthquake-proof buildings.

    In view of such continuing disasters, the lesson to be had is that human solidarity is the best capital to enrich human lives spiritually as they make them feel connected worldwide.

    Let’s hope the measures to deal with Chile earthquake can be as successful as it was the case in Italy and not as a failure as it is still the case in earthquake-stricken areas in Pakistan.

  11. 13 Mohammed Ali
    March 1, 2010 at 16:04

    It is sad that people are dying in their millions from wars, drug trades, dieseas and natural disasters are having no mercy on us. I wonder if Thomas Matthaus, the British Economist was still alive what would he had said. He once suggested that if natural disasters and diseases can kill people to maintain the earth’s population, then wars will be necessary. But now all of those are taking their tolls on us.

  12. March 1, 2010 at 16:19

    I am a member of a Latin American NGO called Un Techo para mi País. With the Haitian earthquake, UTPMP recluted thousands of voluntaries and aid money to rebuild the destroyed homes. The emergency focus is still in this country…
    I’m sure that UTPMP will take action in CHile too, but is clear that the priority is to solve extreme poverty needs, specially structural, like the ones our fellow Haitians are suffering.
    We felt the earthquake in Argentina too. We sent medical aid to our neighboting brothers, who are in need now. Chile is a very organised and strong country, and we know they will rise up from this unfortunate situation.
    It is very important tha all Latinamericans join together to rebuild our great continent.


    Viva Latinoamérica unida!

  13. 15 valeria
    March 1, 2010 at 16:21

    hi everyone!
    well.. I’m chilean and I live in Santiago. Here, I could say that everything is under control. My house didn’t suffered any destruction, so I think santiago is well prepared for earthquakes of this kind of intensity.
    There are some southern cities like concepcion, Talca and Talcahuano, which are devastated by the earthquake and the tsunami. I think that it’s difficult not to have distruction when earthquakes strike so heavily, and I think Chile could bear this situation well, because we have had some similar situations in 1960 in valdivia and in 1985 in santiago.

    thank you very much!

  14. 16 dan
    March 1, 2010 at 16:39

    One lesson one leans is that living in earthquake country California or Florida’s hurricane alley one needs to keep supplies at the ready.
    People expect that Government will be ready and able to save them and it simply ain’t so. When peoples expectations of Government aid goes unfulfilled they lose faith, the threads of civilization start coming apart, society breaks down and while looting of food stuffs and water can be well justified looting of non-life sustaining items cannot and is part of the societal breakdown.
    No matter where we live we must be prepared to survive for 2 weeks before the Government is able to reach us.

  15. 17 Elias
    March 1, 2010 at 16:48

    One begins to wonder as to the amount of serious and gigantic disasters within a few short years combined with the many wars that are now taking place all over the world, also knowing that several countries have weapons of mass destruction, in addition of more countries developing them. Are we heading to our own distruction?.
    Sometime around 1982, I was living in Los Angeles, where I moved from London England, In the early hours around 5 am whilst I was asleep an earthquake happened, measuring approximately 5.6, my bed shook violently, I was very tired and sleepy and said to my self, if I hear any breaking of the building I would then get up and some how protect myself, I then fell into a deep sleep and forgot about it untill later that morning when I heard it on the news.
    The United States, Canada and some European countries are always ready to send assistance to help in such desasters, but one never hears China helping in any way, considering China owes its present economic success to the rest of the world.

  16. 18 pendkar
    March 1, 2010 at 16:53

    Something about the Haitian quake being closer to the surface, giving people no warning before the structures collapsed. Let’s just hope that the Haiti that is rebuilt will be a quake proof one, instead of any comparisons about preparedness..

  17. 19 Andrew in Australia
    March 1, 2010 at 17:01

    Once again this type of natural event highlights the problems of modern life that we have created. People resorting to looting just to find the basics – although stealing TVs and other such items is simply criminal intent – of food and water is understandable.

    We build cities and a supposedly advanced society but we are blind to the natural world around us, and we continually do so only to see things break down immediately a problem occurs. Eventhough we see examples of this time and time again, we either don’t want to think about it or expect someone will pick up the pieces and save us instantly. We cocoon ourselves with immaculate houses, paved roads, technology and are divorced from the natural world which we are a a part of and very much subject to, but you wouldn’t think this to look around.

    We rely so much on our sophisticated ways of life that once supply lines are cut we fall into an almost anarchic state. The necessities aren’t there, we have no way to survive on our own. Who has a supply of food and water in reserve? We live in the technological age, devices to communicate instantly, entertainment at our finger tips, etc but how quickly that means nothing when you need to eat or drink and your locale has been destroyed in a moment. Imagine if our major cities of a million plus was devastated, imagine the chaos then.

  18. 20 subra
    March 1, 2010 at 17:34

    A thought that has come to mind: How sad so many innocent people are dying from natural disasters and the miseries of human beings are aggravated still human s are not learning to live peacefully, love their neighbours and help to reduce poverty instead of killing for the sake of religion while the Gods are not responding in anyway possible to help mankind.

  19. 21 Billy Wachakana in Kenya
    March 1, 2010 at 17:46

    All developing countries should take up the chilean examole of prepparations for any natural disasters. this can only be achieved if corruption in these LDCS is finished. the situation in Haiti was shocking, people should not even compare. I give credit to the chile government for earlier preparations.but they should accept international help.

  20. 22 Alan in AZ
    March 1, 2010 at 17:49

    I don’t have a great deal of knowledge regarding Chile’s or Haiti’s government or societal norms, besides what little you see on TV. But a comparison of how each countries infrastructure has been developed or not developed due to these influences and controlling factors could be a good lessons for other small challenged countries in their growth. You can title it: ” How a Society can Overcome Corruption to Improve Their Country”

    Obviously in this case leading to better building codes, better emergency resources and a more capable government.

  21. 23 viola
    March 1, 2010 at 18:21

    For the 700 plus persons killed in the recent 8.8 earthquake, for those whose homes were destroyed, for the store owners whose businesses were looted, this is a personal disaster as great as happened to the Haitians. As a national disaster, because of the preparedness of the Chilean government and good building policies, it was far less of a disaster.

    Yes, there is a difference between looting and taking essential supplies for survival. Unfortunately, those who loot for profit bring a violent response from police and military that probably unfairly lumps in everyone. In fairness to business owners, the government should, perhaps, offer compensation if police and military are not able to protect their stores. Business owners would do well, if they survived the earthquake, to hire people to guard their damaged stores and goods. We all know that relying only on the government response is inadequate.

    As for international response, remember a country that has good preparedness should not be punished by ignoring their disaster or refusing to respond to it just because it wasn’t as great as another country’s.

    Viola in Canada

  22. 24 nora
    March 1, 2010 at 18:33

    Agree with Linda and Patti about the ‘looter’ label. Note that it was the incoming right-wing President that used the label first and threatened prosecution once he takes office. Chile has had a very competent Socialist President and she is about to leave office. Trepidation among the poor is high.

    There are two Chiles: The largely first world modern infrastructure which serves the majority, and the poor that time forgot. Haiti doesn’t boast a resource equal to Chilean copper, so most Hatians fall in the latter category.

  23. 25 Andrew in Australia
    March 1, 2010 at 19:01

    It would seem irrespnsible.. no stupid.. if you live in an area which is not just prone to earthquakes, but in an active earthquake region not to be prepared. Even if your government does not plan ahead, the people themselves should be prepared. Many people across the globe live next to active volcanoes, or in flood zones, earthquake zones, etc etc and are oblivious to the dangers they face.

    I am reminded of how in 2009 huge bushfires burnt out great swathes of my home state and the outcry following the many deaths, yet as people rebuild many seem to behave as if nothing happened. You would think rebuilding would take this into account, but similar mistakes are no doubt being made.

  24. 26 T
    March 1, 2010 at 19:02

    Re: the “looting” that’s happened in Haiti, I’d say expand beyond that for a second.

    Compare Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. In both cases, yes this “looting” label was racist. The white people that stayed were “taking stuff to survive.” As for the people of color in both cases, they were (and are still in Haiti) being labeled unfairly.

    In desperate situations, people will do and say literally anything to survive. So how does exploiting that for ratings help anyone?

  25. March 1, 2010 at 19:12

    Too many natural disorders of late. Whether we make comparison or not, this domino effect of human casualty is unbearable. Too many lives and the only consolation is that the world must be united to empathize the human sufferings in the Haiti and now Chile. Whether we hypothesize about the abuse of the environment as a factor for the quakes or that there is a supernatural force sending a message to humankind to watch the use of natural resources, one thing that is common is that there is a universal need to equip all countries to make them effective in issuing early warning signs or helping to building infrastructures that will minimize the casualty both humans and materials are core issues to look in the near future.

  26. 28 David - Texas
    March 1, 2010 at 19:35

    My father’s side of the family is in Chile and just heard yesterday that they are doing fine.

    I grew up in Santiago until 2004 when I came to the states. Tremors a very common in Chile however, major earthquakes are expected every 10-15 years. Chile has missed a few earthquakes so a big one was already being anticipated.
    I can still remember the so called “Daisy” drills that occurred during school year in which they teach children how to react to them. All in all, Chile is very well prepared for this sort of natural occurrences even its buildings are engineered for this such as massive like wheels that will make a tall building move sideways instead of rocking back and forth like normal buildings. Such engineering is also common in Tokyo, Japan.

    I don’t think it would be fair to compare Haiti with a developed country such as Chile. Haiti was/is not equipped to handle such a disaster that its been hit with.

    All I can say to my fellow Chileans is to have faith and patience, presidenta Bachelet is doing the best she can as well as government officials. I wish I could be down there and help out a bit, I miss much of it.

    Blessings and be safe, viva Chile unido!

  27. 29 Alan in AZ
    March 1, 2010 at 19:37

    It’s LOOTING and THEFT if your not honest enough to leave a note listing what you took against the owners wishes. You obviously have no intention of paying for your crimes.

  28. 30 Clamdip
    March 1, 2010 at 19:49

    I’d like to see more emphasis on worlwide earthquake building standards. We have the technology to build seismic buildings, why isn’t the world doing it?

  29. 31 patti in cape coral
    March 1, 2010 at 19:53

    Looked up some info on looting. The general definition says that taking goods necessary for survival is labeled as “scavenging.” Taking advantage of a disordered situation to steal things that are not necessary for survival is “looting.”

  30. 32 Clamdip
    March 1, 2010 at 19:58

    The gereral coordination of earthquake relief seems haphazard. Would it help to have regional supplies at the ready like temporary hospitals, heavy equipment, medicines located within 1-3 hours of any point on earth so that the relief is well coordinated. Like a massive team that can be immediately deployed within the first few hours. Obama spoke within hours of Chile’s earthquake to help but the government said, no! they could handle it now two days later they are asking for help. Why not deploy a worldwide assessment earthquake team that has all of the equipment and supplies in place so that the only thing that needs to be sent are the teams.

  31. 33 Cabe UK
    March 1, 2010 at 20:17

    Chile is a whole different ball-game from Haiti. They are richer, more organised and more sav vy. Plus as this Earthquake did not devastate as much as the Haitian one – then it is a bit romantic for people to say that the “looters” out getting supplies for their family while everyone else is looting TV’s etc, were actually really, not Really Looting !!!! Excuse Me? – then what they were doing?
    If you are going where the Looters are and are also stealing alongside them, then you are a *Looter* regardless of your reasons for taking it…

    – Don’t get me wrong – I DO understand peoples’ predicament, and I suppose if I was in the same place I would do the same things – but I don’t go with everyone suddenly making up this wonderful charitable distinction between the two!
    If you pitch your tent in earthquake ally, then you know whats coming and are prepared ….. The Government and the populatoin should have already had supply points in place for that eventuality and to avoid any looting and, if you needed food they why not just go and Ask the army / ETC, to help sort it out quickly. ??? Sorry – there are just No conscientious looters !

  32. March 2, 2010 at 00:06

    Signs of end time? Where are the 2012 project members?

  33. March 2, 2010 at 11:10

    i think the world is getting cooler and wetter..no wonder the current landslides which are so terrible we call them earthquakes.copenhagen guys should now research more on whether the world is getting warmer or wetter..i think its getting wetter.infuture,all our building materials(rocks) should be smelted to come up with stronger sheets of metals to make walls and slabs,cement and whole stones are heavy.

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  34. March 2, 2010 at 12:47

    I think like my collegue here from Kenya has put it really it is a challenge for our so called G8 NATIONS for not embarking on a climate change strategy with an affirmative aproach, not just to pledge money for the carbon fund but to feel it that it is their countries that are likely to be affected.

    Africa is slightly still lucky, but how long will luck be on our side? We need a combined aproach on carbom emission reduction, as it seems to be the cause of these deadly winds, dear sisters and brothers in Chile; Ugandan youths environmentalists are areally concerned and only hoping to come and volunteer with willing NGOs to help you guys.

    VERNON TUGUMIZEMU, Kampala Uganda

  35. 37 Piero
    March 2, 2010 at 13:11

    Who was afected by this earthquake was my wife left alone in Santiago when I was in Paraguay at my farm. Fisically nothing happened to her, but few furnitures damaged. She passed terrible minutes in the dark untill she was rescued. When the press compáres Haiti with Chile, is as you do not distinguish the black from white.
    Chile is a modern country. Part of the Central and South Regions are still with old buildings that obviously did not stand to 8.8 earthquake magnitud. While Santiago City with its high buildings, up to 36 floors,remained untouched,they are all built, by law,asismic,( anti-earthquake, by metal structure ). If looting cases occurred, this happened on the central- south parts, populated by native populations. I am not writing on a descrimination point o view, but on what occurred, occurs and will occur.

  36. March 2, 2010 at 13:44

    I feel very sad about this news . I can’t understand why there are so many disaters in the last year. the eurthquake , the sow. the blood,the dry ,does it mean the end of the world .just as the famous film ,and i am very afrid about it……….

  37. 39 Subhash C Mehta
    March 3, 2010 at 06:52

    I feel saddened to see so much devastation and loss of life; and I send my condolences to the families and friends of the dead and the sufferers.

    It may not be out of place to mention here, that, the extent of the devastation and loss of life in Haiti due to the recent earthquake, and the intensity of this earthquake (8.8 to 9) on the scale) in Chile, is a stark reminder on the increasing and intensifying natural calamities; most of them due to the global warming and the resultant climate-changes.

  38. March 3, 2010 at 18:36

    in india in 2001 earthquake in kachchh the magnitusr was 8.2 but the cental govt of that time headed by mr.atal bihari bajpayye as pm of indi under him the pmo office issued that the magnitbude was 6.9 because if the bjp govt had said it as to be above 7 than they had to declare it has national calamity which they refrained in india the govt was not sacked but today the bjp is finished for chile first the news came of 9.2 than 8.2 and there after 8.8.

  39. March 4, 2010 at 09:33

    the rehabilitation will take a decade which in our civilization is not a progrss but degradation?

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