U.S. Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton, visited Chile yesterday bringing aid and promising U.S assistance. Her trip was confined to the Santiago airport and then to a visit with President Michelle Bachelet and President-elect Sebastian Pinera. At Chile’s request, Clinton brought with her 25 satellite phones and a technician to set them up. Satellite phones are needed to help authorities communicate with areas where telephone lines have been destroyed by the quake.
“America is ready to respond to requests from the Chilean Government, not only in solidarity, but with the specific provisions they need for reconstruction work,” Clinton said.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet thanked Clinton and President Barack Obama for the “support, friendship and cooperation” of the United States.
Further U.S. aid may include eight water purification systems, power generators and medical and dialysis equipment, and supplies. Other donations could include mobile kitchens, temporary bridges and helicopters
Her trip to Chile was part of a five-day tour to visit Latin American countries, including Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil Costa Rica, and Guatemala to gain support for U.S. sanctions against Iran amongst other reasons.
Photo Source: www.thepulse.cl
The government of Chile officially asked for help from the United Nations today. In response, the UN stated that it is “ready to take action”. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck 200 miles south of the capital, Santiago has left the death toll currently at 708 with 2 million people displaced. Since the earthquake two days ago, the Chilean government has been assessing the damage and international aid groups have sent experts and funding but have held back on providing large amounts of aid. U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said Chile formally made its request for temporary bridges, field hospitals, satellite phones, electric generators, damage assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens and dialysis centers.
The International Red Cross has also stepped in to help by providing $280,000 of its own funds and dispatching aid experts and volunteers to areas hardest hit by the quake. The International Red Cross states that they will have to wait on local officials and the Chilean Red Cross to find out what is needed.
Doctors Without Borders said it sent an exploratory team of health workers to help the Chilean government. They will travel today to the Maule region and will focus on areas close to the epicenter of the earthquake, prioritizing rural villages where aid often takes far longer to reach than in cities.
Tomas Munita for The New York Times