Devastation in Cerro Verde, Chile
Mariela and son, Felipe, of Cerro Verde
Mario Ramos E.
Convencion de Iglesias Bautisas M. Ch.
Temuco, March 6, 2010
I have wanted to prepare this report being the most realistic possible. God knows I am not a person who exaggerates things to create an impression that is not accurate. What you will read in these lines is what our eyes saw and what our senses felt of this terrible catastrophe that has affected our country. I have wanted to prepare this report being the most realistic possible.
Five pastors, four laymen and two young people left in three trucks to visit the cities of Los Angeles, Laja, Concepción, and Penco. We could not reach Tomé and Coronel for lack of time. These are areas that also suffered the consequences of the earthquake and tsunamai, since they are located on our country's coast.
The aid that we brought was: flour, sugar, coffee, tea, potatoes, pasta, yeast, toilet paper, batteries, flashlights, and water. Our hearts beat more strongly as we arrived, not just because we could arrive with some help, but because we were able once again to embrace them and see that in spite of the disaster, and that some of them had lost everything, they were content, because God our Father had sustained their lives, that wonderful gift that only God gives, to him be the glory, aleluia.
The words that spontaneously came from them and the people around them were that “we will get by,” “things can be recovered but not life,” “God takes care of our lives,” “He is still faithful,” etc., etc., y so many other words that encouraged us to keep on being motivated to go as many times as necessary to bring aid to our brothers and sisters.
Pastor Luis Alvarado told us: “This is something that I have only seen and felt once before in the earthquake of 1960 (he also personally experienced that earthquake). The sea came with a wild force, demolishing everything in its path. My sister Julia (member of the church and also his physical sister) lost her house as the sea swept it away, as well as so many others from this place. It was only a miracle of God that my house also was not wiped out by the sea. Today we need bedding, clothing for many people, food and the ability to help rebuild out of nothing for those who lost everything.”
Our sister Mariela Cardenas told us: “It was something terrible, dreadful. We got out with what we had on. Our house disappeared. Today we have nothing, but thanks to God we are alive.” She could not continue talking, being overcome with emotion.
Pastor Ramón Henriquez of Laja told us: “Pastors, it was something horrible. My wife Yasna is under psychological treatment because when the earthquake began our youngest son was caught on the second floor and we could not get to him. The impact of that is still with us.”
We could include a series of stories that we received from children, women and men who today are downcast and suffering from the widespread impact caused by the earthquake that affected us on February 27. Here in Temuco it was about 8 on the Richter scale, but thanks to God the city withstood it well. The coastline suffered great damage.
Having been many times in the community of Cerro Verde in the town of Penco where Pastor Luis Alvarado’s church is, it is frightful to see now how houses have disappeared, how cars were thrown into houses. Boats that were on the beach are stuck on houses. The panorama is desolate. The smell of dead fish is terrible. The desolation of the people is a nightmare.
The authorities still have not arrived with help to many of our fellow citizens’ locations. We hope this will change soon.
Meanwhile, we cannot remain with our arms crossed. That is why I am appealing to your generosity and Christian fellowship. Baptists are a people of solidarity. Today we are impacted. I invite you to collaborate with the Baptists of Chile.
For now, in the name of our brothers and sisters who have lost everything, we are very grateful to you. May the God of peace be in your hearts. I never imagined that I would be writing these lines to ask for your generous collaboration, but God knows that what I am sharing with you is the truth.
Mario Ramos E.
Convención de Iglesias Bautistas M. Ch.
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