Chile earthquake damages CFCA office
February 28, 2010
VALPARAISO, CHILE — The impact of Chile’s Feb. 27 earthquake on sponsored members and their families is still unknown, but Valparaiso project staff reported that the CFCA office there incurred structural damage.
Valparaiso Project Coordinator Sara Leiva visited the project office the morning the quake hit. From the outside, the office looked fine.
“When I went in, I saw everything on the floor,” she said. “The walls have cracks and the place is full of dust. One of the walls on the first floor collapsed and water was coming in from somewhere.”
Local firefighters shut off the water. Because of structural damage, they recommended evacuating the building. Leiva and some colleagues moved files, equipment and other valuables to the homes of staff members to keep them safe.
“We know that in situations like this, there is always a high risk of robbery,” Leiva said.
CFCA staff members are safe, Leiva said. However, information about the status of CFCA families is not yet available. More information will be available after the Valparaiso staff assesses the well-being of sponsored members and their families who live in the areas affected by the quake.
“We strongly believe that our families are very scared, without running water, power or communications, but we are hopeful that they are well,” Leiva said.
CFCA serves about 5,000 sponsored members through its Valparaiso office. Valparaiso is located about 220 miles north of the quake’s epicenter offshore from Maule.
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake was the most powerful to hit Chile in 50 years. Leiva said that Chileans are used to earthquakes, and construction, in general, is “anti earthquake.” But the damage from this one is extensive, running north along Chile’s Pacific coast and extending even into Argentina. The preliminary death toll is reported to be 300 and rising.