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The Marists in Chile after the earthquake

01/03/2010: Chile

A few hours after the strong earthquake which shook Chile, Brother Jesús Pérez, Mission Delegate of the Province of Santa María de los Andes in Chile, sent an urgent communication describing the situation. “After contacting all the places where the Brothers are living or working, I can say that we have suffered no personal damage. I can say this with regard to the Brothers and also those who work with us, according to the information that has reached us up to now. Of the places where we work, the most delicate situation would be that of Curicó, from the information I possess. On sending this urgent mail, I hope for some echos that can complete my information.

In Curicó the Brothers have had no major problem. The shock mentioned above was increased by seeing the situation of many neighbouring houses which are badly damaged or in very bad shape. The college has suffered some serious damage, which requires further examination, in the area of the offices. This part is of old construction, of adobe, remodelled. There has also been a problem in the last building work carried out. The town, it appears, is very damaged.
Material damage to the Brothers’ houses has been minimal. The earthquake has broken connection with the TV, at least in three houses. In the other colleges there has also been damage, but minor. As more information comes in, we will bring you up to date”.

Although Chile is accustomed to and prepared for these situations, the intensity was such (up to grade 9.0) that it is possible that there has been serious damage to the infrastructure. Santiago airport itself should be closed for at least 72 hours. Ground communications remain cut and also partly telecommunications for lack of light in large areas. There have also been difficulties with the supply of water.

The government has taken control with respective measures very quickly. Among them, the delay in the beginning of classes, which affects our Marist educational works directly. The majority of the students should have begun classes on Monday. The government has postponed the opening until the 8th.

Many thanks to those who were worried about us.
A warm embrace and union in prayer. Now we need to take a wider view to see who is more needy of a helping hand from us.

Br. Jesús Pérez
Mission Delegate

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