Chile gets back on its feet

After a slow start, it sounds like things are improving in Chile. I was struck, reading this report in the Ties, that DHL actually has a “director of humanitarian affairs” – that’s sort of neat.

Some disaster veterans say Chile’s disaster response has been remarkable, largely avoiding bureaucratic infighting and quickly patching up the international airport and main north-south highway to keep aid flowing.

”Could FEMA have done that?” said Chris Weeks, director of humanitarian affairs for the DHL delivery company, referring to the U.S. government’s disaster agency.

Weeks, the leader of a group of DHL volunteers who organize airport aid deliveries in major disasters worldwide, said, ”These Chileans are such can-do people. … I’ve seen damaged bridges with big metal slabs covering the gaps. If that were the States they would close the bridges for two months while structural engineers figured out if you could cross.”

Chileans also are helping themselves: Complementing Chile’s intensive military aid, volunteers have appeared all over to deliver clothes and food, and a national telethon collected $58 million Saturday — twice what organizers hoped for.


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4 responses to “Chile gets back on its feet

  1. Walt

    Dude –
    It’s Sunday. Who eats chili on a Sunday? I have two words to say. Lasagna.
    Your Pal,

  2. foobar

    Chile is a very prosperous country. They need no outside aid to assist their recovery efforts. Power to them.

  3. anon

    Shows what can happen when a country isn’t riddled with trial lawyers.

    And the ignorance of Chile in this country is breathtaking. Most people seem to associate South America and Spanish speaking with poor and destitute.

    The government representatives I heard after the quake seemed exasperated with having to explain that they didn’t need foreign aid.

  4. Island Surveyor

    Chile quake moves city more than 10 feet
    March 9, 2010 3:57 a.m. EST

    (CNN) — The magnitude-8.8 earthquake that rocked the west coast of Chile last month was violent enough to move the city of Concepcion at least 10 feet to the west and the capital, Santiago, about 11 inches to the west-southwest, researchers said.
    The quake also shifted other parts of South America, as far apart as the Falkland Islands and Fortaleza, Brazil.
    The results were reached via global positioning satellite measurements taken before and after the February 27 quake by teams from Ohio State University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Memphis and the California Institute of Technology, as well as agencies across South America.
    NASA scientists have already credited the quake with shifting the Earth’s axis enough to create shorter days. The change is negligible, but still worth noting: Each day should be 1.26 microseconds shorter, according to preliminary calculations. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second.
    A large quake — like the one that hit Chile’s Maule region — shifts massive amounts of rock and alters the distribution of mass on the planet.
    When that distribution changes, it changes the rate at which the planet rotates. And the rotation rate determines the length of a day.
    “Any worldly event that involves the movement of mass affects the Earth’s rotation,” Benjamin Fong Chao, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said while explaining the phenomenon in 2005.
    Despite the tragedy of the earthquake, which killed hundreds of Chileans, scientists see opportunities to gain valuable information in the aftermath.
    “The Maule earthquake will arguably become one of the, if not the most important, great earthquakes yet studied,” said Ben Brooks of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii.
    “We now have modern, precise instruments to evaluate this event.”