Oxfam supports population affected by earthquake in Northern Chile

“The earthquake of last Wednesday November 14th had a magnitude of 7.7 degrees on the Richter scale.”
Published: 22 November 2007

Santiago, November 19, 2007 – International agency Oxfam has sent a humanitarian team to the zone affected by the earthquake that shook northern Chile to assess the most urgently needed aid. Oxfam is working coordinating with the operations committee of the province and the municipality of Tocopilla.

Starting this week, Oxfam will distribute 500 tents as temporary shelter and coverage for those families whose homes collapsed or have been seriously damaged. Oxfam will also install 20 reservoirs with capacity to collect and distribute a total of 24 thousand liters of drinking water for the inhabitants of the five most affected areas of the Tocopilla region. One thousand buckets will also be distributed to assure the water is transported in optimal conditions.

The delivery of this aid is coordinated with the Emergency Operations Committee of the province and city of Tocopilla. For Ana Maria Rebaza – Oxfam’s regional lead for Humanitarian Aid – the participation in this space has been an excellent opportunity to share part of Oxfam’s experience in humanitarian aid and natural disaster’s response.

“There is a lot of professionalism and organization in the various aspects of this emergency. The aid systems are improving. The most urgent problems are water and homes. The demand for water is being solved already. But the need for homes and shelter is a longer term process. Meanwhile, Oxfam will start its help with the distribution of 500 tents to combat the lack of shelter, explained Rebaza.

Cecilia Millán, representative of Oxfam in Chile, stated that “we are trying to coordinate our humanitarian work with other agencies, NGOs and the State organizations responsible for aid in cases of emergency. The objective is to guarantee the highest possible impact.”

Oxfam’s humanitarian team continues to assess the disaster zone and to analyze the most efficient mechanisms to distribute aid. Starting on Tuesday November 20, a professional in water and sanitation from Bolivia will join the team.

The earthquake of last Wednesday November 14th had a magnitude of 7.7 degrees on the Richter scale. According to information reported by local authorities, in Tocopilla more than 80% (5000) of the houses are in inhabitable conditions. Besides housing, the population urgently needs water and food.

Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 non governmental organizations that work together to create lasting solutions for poverty and injustice. The organization is also working in several parts of the world distributing humanitarian aid. At the moment, Oxfam maintains humanitarian operations in Pisco (Perú), Darfur/Sudan, in the South of Asia, in the Gaza strip, in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) supporting the victims of the earthquake that killed 5,736 persons last May, and in Congo. It is also working in Somalia, Zimbabwe, Northern Uganda, Nicaragua (Hurricane Felix), among others.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Mónica Maureira, Communications Officer Oxfam, Chile:
Tel: +56 - 2 - 2642772, +56 - 2 - 2642284 (extension 207)
Cel: +56 - 9 - 9594156
Jennifer Abrahamson, Oxfam Humanitarian Media Officer,
Jennifer Abrahamson, Oxfam Humanitarian Media Officer,
tel: +1 212 687 2150, mob: +1 202 321 7858
email: jennifer.abrahamson@oxfaminternational.org