ADRA Responds to severe flooding in Chile
Silver Spring, Maryland--Record-setting rains caused widespread flooding in the Araucania region, 400 miles (700 km) south of Santiago in early September, killing at least eight people, damaging 10,000 homes, inundating 200,000 hectares of fertile farmlands, and affecting 23,000 residents. In response, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) will distribute emergency kits stocked with food, bedding, and charcoal to approximately 2,000 people.
“The effects of this disaster are incredible,” said Milton Alaña, country director for ADRA Chile. “The water is not the real problem, it’s the cold.There’s a fear of people getting sick from pneumonia and the flu.”
ADRA is coordinating with Araucania region authorities and officials from the Ministry of the Interior National Office of Emergency (ONEMI) to identify beneficiaries and distribute emergency aid kits in the towns of Carahue, Nueva Imperial, Puerto Saavedra, and Teniente Schmidt, all flooded during the 40-hour long winter storm. Each emergency kit contains a two-week supply of charcoal, one bedding set, two blankets, four pounds (2 kg) of sugar, two pounds (1 kg) of lentils, two pounds (1 kg) of pinto beans, and one serving of harina tostada, a toasted wheat flour-based traditional Chilean drink. ADRA also plans to provide six-gallon (25 L) plastic water containers to 100 families living in areas where water supplies were contaminated.
ADRA’s distribution will begin Monday, September 15. ADRA International, ADRA Chile, and the ADRA South American Regional Office are funding this $20,000 emergency project. The greatest needs are for food, blankets, clothing, mattresses, and housing materials, said Alaña.
Between August 31 and September 2, a severe weather system pushed inland from the Pacific Ocean dumping large amounts of rainfall and causing rivers and canals to pour over their banks and flood large cultivated areas in the Araucania region, which produces 40 percent of Chile’s annual wheat harvest. The Government of Chile sent boats and helicopters to the worst hit areas to rescue stranded residents.
In Araucania, where nearly 18,000 people were affected, 1,400 received assistance in local emergency relief centers. In nearby Bio Bio and Los Lagos regions, 2,190 and 1,012 residents, respectively, lost their homes. On Wednesday, September 3, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who toured the affected region, designated the area a ‘catastrophe zone’ and released funds to support affected families and rebuild damaged infrastructure.
To assist in ADRA’s emergency response to the flooding in Chile, contributions can be made to Emergency Response Fund, by calling 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or giving online at www.adra.org.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, or ethnicity.