Charity Aid Group Involved in Chile Quake Recovery

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CONCEPCION, Chile - Scientists have discovered that the massive earthquake that struck the South American country of Chile just over a week ago was so powerful it moved the city of Concepcion by at least ten feet.

The earthquake and the tsunami that followed wiped out homes throughout the city. Members of CBN's Operation Blessing International are on the scene to help the victims get their lives back to normal.

Survivor Maria Chavez is holding on to the one thing she still has.

"I have to live now for my kids, I have no other option," Chavez said.

She has taken refuge in a tent set up in an open field east of the quake's epicenter. She, along with dozens of other families, now calls the place home.

"The local authorities have done nothing for us," said Luisa Romero, the camp's leader. "The town mayor came in the other day with just one bag of rice, some flour, 1 liter of milk and a single bottle of water. How do you expect to take care of 40 families with that?"

So this past weekend, Operation Blessing partnered with Chilean churches to distribute bags filled with rice, flour, salt, and oil to residents of the makeshift camp.

"Real staple stuff for the families to be able to use for their daily nutrition," said Kumar Periasamy, Operation Blessing's Director of International Disaster Relief.

For Chavez, Operation Blessing's outreach was about identifying with her loss.

"By coming you share in a part of our suffering," she said to the group. "Thank you, thank you for coming."

About 1.5 million homes have been destroyed as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami. The Chilean government estimates rebuilding costs could be somewhere between $15 billion and $30 billion.

For now though, it's all about meeting immediate needs. Operation Blessing asked several churches in a part of the devastated region to identify families that were in need. Volunteers then fanned out going door-to-door delivering care packages with essential supplies.

"Whenever there's a disaster we respond quickly we come and see the need and right away we start distributing food, water, whatever is needed," Periasamy said.

The Operation Blessing outreach touched some 250 families in and around the affected the areas.

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