One Month On, Chileans in Tarapacá Are Still Recovering from Earthquake Damage

The original version of this post was first published by Equipo El Boyaldía on Boyaldía on 2 May, 2014.


A banner in a shelter for earthquake victims reads: ‘Iquique, land of tents’. Image from MiVoz, used with permission.

Dissatisfaction and desolation are evident in Chile's northern Tarapacá region. One month after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north of the country on 1-2 April, thousands of people – some of whom have lost all their possessions – are still waiting for support from the government. 

In Tarapacá region, 758 people are currently being housed in five shelters, while others have been forced to live in tents because their homes remain uninhabitable.

On 30 April, more than 2,000 people took part in the most significant rally since the catastrophe in front of the Tarapacá Region administrative building, demanding that the government provide more assistance and help with reconstruction.

Statistics provided by the National Office of Emergency of the Ministry of the Interior (ONEMI) on 1 May indicated that Tarapacá was the region worst affected by the earthquake, which killed six people and caused substantial damage to buildings.

According to official figures, 21,813 people were affected, with 1,225 homes destroyed, 4,125 buildings seriously damaged and 8,280 slightly damaged. 63 prisoners escaped in the district of Iquique during an evacuation that took place after the earthquake.

ONEMI claims that assistance in the affected areas has focused on the needs of people affected by the earthquake, and says that it has reinforced plans for future emergencies. Official figures claim that the government has delivered 1,118 tons of food and basic items to earthquake victims. 

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