These are mediaguas.
Dignity inside a mediagua.
Fear and uncertainty from still living in tents.
Receiving a food kit.
Her Greatest Fear
A reporter asked a woman now living in an emergency house after the Chile earthquake about her greatest fear. She replied, “Being forgotten. We are afraid that we will languish here in our shelters and the rest of the world will go on as if we don’t exist.”
Two months after the 8.8 earthquake, and the massive waves of the tsunami that followed, Chile is deceptively calm. But just below the surface are 2 million people displaced by the quake and the tsunami. Approximately 370,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
The main priority for the Chilean government has been to provide shelter from the cold and rainy winter that has already begun. Though their efforts are laudable, time and limited resources allow for only a basic emergency shelter for each family. By June 11, 45,000 emergency houses will have been installed. These shelters (they are called mediaguas in Chile) take the form of 10x20 foot wooden structures with zinc roofs. There is no electricity, bathroom, running water, windows, or insulation. It will be a tough winter in damp and cold quarters, where respiratory illnesses and flu outbreaks are dreaded. Everyone will be using community bath facilities, men and women, young and old, sick and healthy. The government estimates that most families will spend one to three years in the temporary shelters, waiting for new homes.
Some hospitals in the affected areas are closed or they are reduced to 1/3 to 1/2 of their capacity. Here in Temuco, our pediatric wing that normally has 100 beds is operating with 60. It serves the entire region.
The Ways your Donations are Giving Shelter and Aid
Last week Dwight went to Penco with our friends, Lord Merino and Moises Cruces to help Pastor Luis build a small house for two women who lost their homes to the tsunami. Another leader from the Mapuche churches, Eugenio Leal, also left his small farm to come help. This house will have windows, electricity, insulation and bathrooms, a mansion compared to the mediaguas just across the railroad tracks.
As your representatives in Chile, we are called to bring hope in the name of Christ. After meeting with pastors and residents in the affected area we are convinced that the best form that hope can take is improvements in the living conditions of the emergency camps.
3 Ways to Make These Shelters Livable
With your help, we can significantly improve the life of a family living in a shelter. Depending on the situations and various needs, here’s how:
(1) Insulation against wind and rain, two electrical outlets and a window can be added with $500.00 per shelter.
(2) Two beds with blankets, a table with four chairs, and a kerosene heater can also be provided for $500.00.
(3) We can add an extra room for approximately the same amount.
We have organized our relief efforts to be as responsive to the changing needs of the people as possible. We are working in coordination with the assessments of our local churches and community leaders.
2 Ways to Meet Basic Needs
We are continuing to distribute food and hygiene kits to families throughout the region.
(1) The food kits provide staples for a family of four for two weeks at a cost of $25.00 each.
(2) The hygiene kits supply the personal needs of a family of four for one month for $22.00.
You Can Be Part of the Recovery Effort Now.
Many of you have asked us to let you know how you can help us. Please know that we are fine, but many of our friends are not. Please help us help them. Donations for Chile Earthquake Relief can be made through your church or sent directly to International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Be sure to designate “OGHS-Chile Earthquake Relief.”
2 Exciting Opportunities for First-Time Donors to our Ongoing Support
From now until May 31, people who are pledging for the first time to our monthly support goals will receive two wonderful privileges:
(1) The first 360 donors (all IM missionaries included!) will receive a free copy of Tony Campolo’s book, Letters to a Young Evangelical.
(2) Monthly pledges of $30 will be matched 50%. A matching gift fund established by a generous group of IM friends will turn a $30/mo. pledge into a $45/mo. gift.
To qualify, all pledges must be made on the IM website: www.internationalministries.org/drives/360_matching_fund
Thank you, our partners and friends in this Chile Mission Community, as we like to call it, for your support and companionship on this journey.
May God richly bless you in every good work, Dwight and Barbara Bolick