By the middle of the week, thousands of tons of provisions and shelter had begun to arrive in the areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami that affected central-southern Chile in the early hours of the morning last Saturday, 27 February.
As President Michelle Bachelet reported this Thursday, the Maule and Bio Bio Regions have already received “over 8,200 tons” of different products, while a Navy ship is to depart with around 300 tons more.
“We have been sending trucks with food, water, diapers, milk for children, blankets, and tents,” the president detailed, adding that electricity, drinking water and fuel supplies were being restored “slowly but surely.”
In addition, public security work and distribution efforts are being supported by 7,000 members of all armed forces and the police, with 30 aircraft being used for an airlift along with another nine ships.
The campaign hospitals belonging to military institutions and cooperation from governments like Peru and Spain, among others, has allowed the health needs of Curanilahue, Hualpén and Penco to be covered, the president added.
The authorities have coordinated with fishing industries to clear rubble and with supermarkets to distribute goods, so that “the country can get moving again,” the president said.
From the catastrophe area she made a call for the people to remain “calm and hopeful.” “I am convinced that Chile will once again get to its feet. Something terrible happened to us as a country, but we are going to overcome it,” she concluded.
At the close of this note, official statistics registered 802 deaths from the natural disaster according to an official list on the Foreign Ministry website.
As the days go by, things are also beginning to return to normal in the capital Santiago, located 350 kilometers north of the earthquake’s epicenter. For example, 93% of homes in the Metropolitan Region had electricity services.
As of this Wednesday the Santiago international airport began operating 24 hours a day in provisional facilities, thanks to which companies like LAN were able to reestablish one third of their local and international operations.