Destruction After Dichato Tsunami [Chile Update Day 3]

15 Mar

Destruction After Dichato Tsunami [Chile Update Day 3]

Dear Friends,

We awoke this morning to learn that one of our team members, Pablo Juliberto, had been tapped by Chile’s new president to serve as a governor of one of Chile’s forty provinces. Pablo had previously served as the Minister of Finance for that same province. He’s a bright young man who also sits on the board of Chile’s third-largest university. So we’ve had a fun time today joking about how people from whom Pablo asks driving directions don’t know they’re talking to a distinguished governor!

Pastor Pedro, whom we met last evening, and his wife, took us around Concepcion and a nearby town named Dichato all day today visiting believers who have suffered great losses because of the tsunami that followed the earthquake. We were told that the tsunami was not a giant wave, but that the ocean simply lifted 30 to 50 feet and surged inland, then rushed back, pulling everything with it back into the ocean. That happened three times within the space of about fifteen minutes. Huge boats were planted far inland, and homes were washed out to sea. The wake of destruction left behind is hard to describe, and the photos below can only provide a tiny glimpse.

Dichato Tsunami Relief

In any case, about twenty-five Christian families who lost everything in the Dichato tsunami are sending up thanks because Heaven’s Family came to their aid today. Although we are not able to restore all they lost, we were able to help each family with some immediate needs by means of gifts of $200 to $300 each, which is a larger sum in the minds of most Chileans than it is to most North Americans. Below are photos of a few who benefitted. Some of the recipients cried, and they expressed their amazement that we came all the way from the U.S. to help them.

Chile is in a much better position than Haiti to help its citizens, and recovery efforts are well underway on public projects. It remains to be seen what might be done for individuals whose homes are heaps of rubble or have been literally washed away down to the foundations, leaving nothing. — David

Aid after tsunami
Governor Pablo jumped out of our pickup truck to take some boxed milk and water to this woman who was living in a tent with her two small children, as her apartment is unsafe now after the earthquake

Tsunami flooded home in Dichato
Single mother Veronica del Carmen Lara amidst the mud and debris of her children’s bedroom. The water surged into her home to a depth of about three feet.

Mother daughter affected by Dichato tsunami
Veronica del Carmen Lara and her married daughter Karen Andrea Perieda Lara

Tsunami destruction caused by earthquake
A boat that was deposited by the tsunami in Concepcion

Chili tsunami destroyed home
Susana Oviedo Aedo in front of what remains of her home

Boat tossed by tsunami
We could hardly believe how far inland this boat was deposited by the tsunami

Ruins after Dichato tsunami
A typical view of what it looks like in Dichato

More destruction from Dichato tsunami
Another typical view in Dichato

Pastor in Dichato
James Jones speaks with pastor Juan Wall in Dichato who has twenty-three families in his church who lost everything. He told us how his church was warned shortly before the earthquake and tsunami that something terrible was going to happen and that they should pray. Not one life was lost among his congregation.

Destruction after Dichato tsunami
One of the few houses still somewhat intact near the shoreline in Dichato, probably due to a very hefty foundation and fortified walls

Beach front after Dichato tsunami
What is left of the beach-front road in Dichato

Houses stacked by tsunami
Although it is not so easy to tell from this photo, on top of the orange building is a house that was lifted up and deposited by the tsunami

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