Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

martes, marzo 02, 2010

Chile: A Call For Your Assistance

Chile's Earthquake

The New York Times is reporting that yesterday's Chile's government having recognized the far ranging extent of the national catastrophe, was calling for international assistance. The Times reports:

Chile’s government, after initially waving off outside aid, changed course Monday as the devastation from the powerful earthquake sank in and the nation’s pressing needs became clear.

With the desperation of many Chileans mounting, the United Nations said that the government had asked for generators, water filtration equipment and field hospitals, as well as experts to assess just how much damage was caused by Saturday’s magnitude 8.8 quake, one of the largest ever measured.

“Everything is now moving,” said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “We are looking immediately to match the needs.”

Chile has always been considered Latin America’s most earthquake-ready country.... /snip

But despite all that, the powerful quake that jolted Chileans awake has left the country reeling. Collapsed bridges and damaged roadways have made it difficult to even get to some areas. Downed phone lines and cellular towers have made it impossible to communicate. And many residents in the most damaged areas have not only taken food from supermarkets, but also robbed banks, set fires and engaged in other forms of lawlessness.

The Times also notes what should be obvious to people who know Chile: the income and wealth disparities in the country are cavernous. Poor people, to no one's surprise, are most affected by the devastation the quake caused:

The quake has also exposed the fact, experts say, that although Chile is one of the most developed countries in the region, it is also one of the most unequal, with huge pockets of urban and rural poor, who suffered most in the quake.

“It’s the poorest Chileans who live near the epicenter,” said Carolina Bank, a Chilean-born sociology professor at Brooklyn College.

This means that this would be a really good time to get out our wallets and to give aid to organizations that are providing assistance in Chile. Let's remember that this is the internet. Large numbers of people making small donations can have an enormous impact.

My essay on the weekend gave this information, which I repeat here:

The Nation let's us know how to help:

Save The Children -- Save The Children is sending an emergency assessment team to Chile, and is asking for contributions to its Children's Emergency Fund to aid these efforts.

World Vision -- The international development, relief and advocacy organization has already sent its first relief flight, from Bolivia this afternoon, with supplies like tarps, blankets, plastic sheeting, and collapsible water containers for survivors. Support these efforts with earmarked gifts to families that need them.

AmeriCares -- Vice President of Emergency Response, Christoph Gorder, says AmeriCares is sending medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Chile. Make a direct contribution to AmeriCares' Chilean earthquake fund.

Habitat for Humanity -- Habitat for Humanity has a continual presence in Chile, where the group has constructed more than 1,300 homes. Habitat will be essential in reconstruction efforts, especially in hard-hit rural areas.

International Medical Corps -- IMC has a presence in dozens of countries around the globe, providing immediate medical care to those affected by natural disasters. Contribute to its emergency response fund.

ShelterBox -- International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has mobilized a team to bring aid to Concepcion, Chile's second largest city, which saw the worse damage.

There are other groups listed below I like to support. Also, I have some antipathy to some of the groups here, particularly World Vision, because of their proselytizing activities to indigenous people in the high Andes, but right now I think the primary idea is to get aid on the ground to places that need it. There doesn't seem to me to be time to apply litmus tests to the groups that can help right now.

Please add to groups that can help the following:

Oxfam America and

Doctors Without Borders

You can also donate via text message as follows:

* Text CHILE to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross

* Text CHILE to 23583 to donate $10 to Habitat for Humanity

* Text CHILE to 20222 to donate $10 to World Vision

* Text CHILE to 50555 to donate $10 to the Friends of World Food Program

* Text CHILE to 52000 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army

* Text REBUILD to 50555 to donate $10 to Operation USA

* Text 4CHILE to 50555 to donate $10 to Convoy of Hope

Finally, google is supporting donations to UNICEF and Direct Relief International.

Etiquetas: , , , ,