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Chile Needs Help Too

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Mar 02, 2010

In Chile, some structures were better able to resist the 8.8. Richter earthquake that hit Saturday than buildings in Haiti. But let there be no confusionChile needs help.

With the reporting on Chile, the point of comparison has been the earthquake that devastated Haiti at the beginning of last month. Clearly, with how recent that earthquake took place and with how ill-equipped Haiti was to respond, it might seem as if one deserves more attention than the other.

Indeed, after Chile was hit by a huge earthquake decades ago, the South American nation took steps to implement strict building codes. But these critical steps did not cover all housing and structures, nor could they prevent the extent of damage that took place in coastal towns, for example. In Concepcin, Chile, hundreds of people were reportedly swept out by waves into the sea.

The overall death toll in Chile is 700 and rising. More than 2 million Chileans are homeless: they have either lost their homes or afraid to sleep in them because of the dozens of tremors that have followed the massive earthquake. Chileans in New York are worried about relatives they have not been able to reach.

As a nation, Chile has made many economic gains. It has attempted to move beyond a dark past of a brutal military dictatorship. And the nation made history with the election of its current and outgoing President, Michelle Bachellet, the first woman to lead Chile.

But the reality that persists there, and in so many other nations, is the wide gulf between the rich and the poor. Economic means count in how communities are able to recoveror not. This is evident in misguided reports about looting. Chilean families have been displaced and cut off from supplies. They have to eat.

We urge our readers to donate to credible organizations ready to help with rescue and relief efforts.

Related Articles:

Haitian Diaspora Ready to Help

Doctor: Haiti Lacks Critical Health Infrastructure

Mission Haiti - Fear, Misinformation Hinder Aid

Letters to Haiti

Haitian Americans on the crisis in Haiti

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