TOME, CHILE (June 7, 2010) – As Chile’s damp and very cold winter sets in, local Evangelical Covenant churches are refocusing their relief and reconstruction work to help survivors of the deadly earthquakes and tsunami that killed hundreds of people and obliterated villages last February.
In Tome, Covenanters are working on ensuring that people will be able to stay warm, says David Mark, Department of World Mission regional coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Already, the church has labored since the catastrophe to make sure area residents had bathhouses and toilets as well as other essential items for shelter.
In Concepcion, church members have become more aware of children’s needs – not just from the effects of the floods, but also from prior abandonment and abuse. They have started projects that include helping children deal with post-traumatic stress.
On February 27, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami claimed nearly 600 lives. One of the areas most devastated was Dichato, a seaside summer tourist destination with a population of 4,000 people. The shaking began at 3:30 a.m. and within hours the area was left a deserted plain.
“Our concern is that Chile’s needs have moved off the ‘radar screen’ of general media information and been replaced by new concerns, like the BP Gulf oil spill ecological disaster,” Mark says. “Help is still very useful and necessary in Chile.” Mark asks that Covenanters continue to pray and consider how they might help the people of Chile.
Marcus Sobarzo, president of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Chile, says he believes the churches are being strengthened through increased awareness and deepened commitment to serving their neighbors.