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Quick response made to Chile earthquake

27 February 2010

Girl sits on rubble in front of collapsed houseThe British Red Cross has released £50,000 from its Disaster Fund to help those affected by the massive earthquake in Chile this morning.

The earthquake, measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, struck an area 115 km north-east of Concepcion this morning at around 06.30 GMT.

Reports from the Chilean government say that the death toll is already more than 100 people, and this is expected to rise quickly as assessments are made.

There are tsunami warnings in place in Chile, as well as other countries and islands in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Easter Island.

Pete Garratt, relief operations manager, said: “With these death toll reports from areas 250km from the epicentre we expect the situation in the worst-affected areas closer in to be much worse. Our fear is that this quake will have had large scale impact.”

The Disaster Fund donation will support the work of the Chilean Red Cross, who are already working on the ground to assess the situation and help those affected by the quake.

The Chilean Red Cross has volunteers and staff trained to respond in the aftermath of disasters. In 2007, when an earthquake measuring 7.7 struck the northern coast, it provided mobile medical units, emergency food packs, hygiene kits and psychological support.

The Chilean Red Cross is also a member of the National Commission for Civil Protection in Chile, the body set up to co-ordinate disaster relief responses between government and other agencies.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also released 300,000 Swiss francs (c. £140,420) from its Disaster Emergency Response Fund.

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