Aftershocks Trigger Tsunami Warning for Chile

A series of aftershocks rocked Chile yesterday as President Sebastian Pinera was sworn into office, including a 7.2 magnitude quake, which was stronger than the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January. Although the aftershocks triggered a tsunami warning, there were no fatalities or crippling damage, and no Alliance international workers appear to have been injured.

“Lights are back on almost all over the city of Santiago,” said Bob and Cheryl Fugate, who serve with The Alliance at the Church of the Vineyard in eastern Santiago. “We visited the Alliance Girls’ Home and the House of Hope, which lost part of its perimeter wall. One of our churches where Cheryl and I ministered has serious damage and cannot be occupied until it is repaired, with estimates of more than $15,000 to make the building habitable.

“Please continue to pray for the regions that have been hit hard by the earthquake. Eight Alliance churches need to be completely leveled and rebuilt, and at least three more have damage and need repairs before they can hold services again.” One of the hardest hit churches is La Florida Church, where the Fugates ministered for 15 years, which sustained severe structural damage. Repairs are estimated at $24,000.

In addition, “more than 500,000 homes have been lost,” said Alliance worker Robert Hepokoski. “Huge crop losses are projected in the central valley, which depends on irrigation pipes and canals that were destroyed. Many have also lost business and jobs.  Schools and hospitals need to be rebuilt in many cities.”

“In Curico, Pastor Ricardo Fernandez is alone in the church’s parsonage,” said Robert. “His wife had to travel several hundred miles south to be with family, where she is expecting to give birth to their first child this month. It is unsafe to enter or leave Pastor Ricardo’s house because the adobe church building next door is in danger of collapsing in an aftershock. Ricardo has chosen to stay with his church.

“Ariel Munoz, president of the Central Valley District, reports that the impact on the city of Constitucion is incredible. The tsunami not only washed away large portions of the town, but it also left a profound emotional impact on the population. Everyone in town lost a family member, neighbors, or friends. Our church is standing, but the people are in shock still.”

Truckloads of emergency supplies have been sent from the north and south to help those who were in desperate need in the days following the quake. The trucks were filled with goods donated by Alliance churches from all over Chile as well as goods purchased with funds sent by CAMA (Compassion and Mercy Associates)—the Alliance relief and development arm—in the first days after the earthquake. 

“We have had quite an eventful two weeks,” said Bob and Cheryl. “We pray that God will continue to give us the courage to walk through the open doors resulting from this quake and that we will be used mightily to bring His light to this world that needs so much hope right now.”

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Ten cents of every dollar given to this project will be divided between the CAMA Advance Fund and the Great Commission Fund to cover travel, administrative, and logistical costs of ministering to the needs of those affected by this disaster. As far as possible, the expressed preference of a donor will be respected and followed. In the event that this gift is oversubscribed, any remaining funds will be used for future disaster relief efforts.


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