Save the Children reports on progress in Chile and Haiti.
I had written a story about the efforts of Save the Children to help people in Haiti. I wanted to know what the non-profit organization was doing in Chile, so I called my source, Kathy Connolly, Senior Director for Resource Development.
Ms. Connolly informed me that a rescue team arrived quickly in the nation’s capital city of Santiago.
"The first three members of our team deployed to Chile on March 2 and more are on the way,” she said. “They are working with the Chilean Government to assess the damage done by this major earthquake."
I asked Ms. Connolly how she would compare the two catastrophes.
"A major difference between the Haitian and the Chilean crises is in the ability of the respective host governments to manage the aftermath,” she explained. “Chile has long been at high risk for earthquakes, given its geographic location, and the government has a strong, capable civil defense in place to provide support. The country's infrastructure—the quality of its building construction, for example—is more advanced than Haiti's as well."
The organization also plans to help kids living in Chile. "Save the Children will provide psychological and social support, hygiene kits, and many other services such as child protection support and educational programs," she said.
Meanwhile, the government in Haiti is still struggling to recover from it 7.0 earthquake, which did much more damage to that poverty-stricken country than the 8.8 quake did in Chile.
"Haiti will be a long-term project,” Ms. Connolly said. “We'll be there for quite a while. Approximately 1.2 million people still need shelter, so that is an urgent priority."
Save The Children has a six-month plan and a proposal called "Build Back Better” to help support the longer term needs of the children of Haiti. In addition to food and shelter, Ms. Connolly says that education will be an important issue for the future. For more information, or to donate, visit savethechildren.org.
PHOTO: Food aid is distributed in Constitucion, Chile, some 300 km south of Santiago. (Photo Credit:MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images/NewsCom)