accessibility & help

Why we needed your help after the Chile earthquake

Chile earthquake© InfoThis appeal is now closed. The Red Cross would like to thank everyone who donated.

On 27 February 2010, a massive earthquake struck Chile, killing more than 400 people, injuring at least 500 and causing major damage to infrastructure.

The quake, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale, was one of the ten largest ever recorded and the worst disaster in Chile for 50 years.

Around two million people were affected, with at least 200,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged.

Affected regions

The epicentre was around 90km from Chile's second largest city, Concepcion (population 650,000) and around 350km from the capital, Santiago.

The worst-affected regions were Bio-Bio (including Concepcion), Maule, Valparaiso, Metropolitana, Libertador O’Higgins and Araucania. Both Bio-Bio and Maule contain rural areas with a high vulnerability to earthquakes, as many people live in homes of mud bricks.

Many buildings collapsed and telephone and power lines went down. Waves generated by a tsunami, caused by the quake, swept into the port town of Talcahuano in the region of Bio-Bio, causing serious damage to port facilities and lifting fishing boats out of the water. Shipping containers were strewn around and streets flooded in the port city, one of the most important in southern Chile.

Urgent needs

The government of Chile co-ordinated the disaster response and requested international assistance for urgent needs, which included:

  • tents
  • water
  • field hospitals
  • electric generators
  • telecommunication equipment.

Find out what we did to help people affected by the earthquake.

Last updated 1 July 2010