Monday, March 1, 2010

Visiting in an Earthquake Zone

The huge earthquake (8.8) in Chile this weekend has devastated large parts of central Chile - I've not been able to get Chilean TV online, but there is info on the Chilean government site - and the usual news media of course. The huge aftershocks seem not to have made things worse, even though some have been measured as high as 6.9. The human toll is traumatic with more than 700 dead; so far it seems most of the deaths reported stem from towns nearest the epicentre.

Seeing pictures of some of the damage in Santiago and Valparaiso feels ... strange: we've visited there in 2006 and just fell in love with the country; the people are entrepreneurial and inventive in their survival; they work hard and sustain their lives against all manner of challenges. This situation looks so difficult, and still I cannot help but believe that the Chilean people will imagine their future, regain their equilibrium and build up their lives once the initial issues with basic supplies are dealt with.

Chile has a long history of big earthquakes. The whole of the Pacific rim is very active with earthquakes and volcanoes asserting the bigger earthly picture on a regular basis.

As part of our preparations we are naturally learning about all facets of self-supported travel in  mountains, deserts and places in between. In light of this latest earthquake, these to-the-point videos from the Southern California Earthquake Centre seemed like a good spot to start. It appears that being outside in nature (as long as nothing significant can fall on you) is a pretty good spot to be in earthquake. I'll be glad to have an Iridium satellite phone to stay in contact when needed.

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