CHA member Susan Irvine of CropTopia Scrapbooking (Munster, Ontario, Canada) is safe and sound in Chile after the engine of the plane was struck by a bird forcing an overnight stay in Santiago, Chile the night before the earthquake. Below is her firsthand account of earthquake and photos from Chile. Susan has been making the most of her time in Chile during an otherwise troublesome period. Susan has volunteered and been serving as news correspondent with Canadian TV and radio stations.
As you can imagine there is a great need for assistance. The Red Cross has set-up easy donations you can make from your mobile phone just by texting. See the link below along with Susan’s first hand account.
Susan Irvine’s Report from Chile
“We flew into Santiago for a stop over on our way to Buenos Aires where we were to start a cruise. As we were landing a bird hit our engine. That grounded our plane so we were put up over night at the Sheraton Santiago. At 3:34 in the morning we were shaken out of our beds by the earthquake. It lasted such a long time. We grabbed some clothes and our essentials and evacuated our 6th floor room. Most of Friday we stayed around the tennis area outdoors. Lots of people have continued to sleep out there as they are afraid to stay in the building. Because we were in transit the police kept our passports at the airport. They are presently buried in rubble, as the terminal was damaged.
Santiago has had very little except cosmetic damage. Plaster cracks in walls and dishes and tv’s broken. Some of the older areas have fared worse. We went out for a walk around the first day and found some young men that were sleeping out in a park. They seemed very shook up and just needed to talk. The young German man said he had phoned his parents and let them know that he was OK but when he approached us I think he saw us as parent figures and was hoping we spoke English so he could talk. Another young Chilean man joined us. He didn’t speak much English but when he said the words, “My Chile” he had tears in his eyes. As a mom, I wished I could hug him but I didn’t want to embarrass him.
The most awful damage has been about 200 miles south of here. The pictures on TV here look awful. With over 700 dead, the government has now admitted they can’t handle it themselves and is asking other countries to help. The pictures show displaced families, fires, looting and lots of military presence. I can’t understand much of what is said but the pictures show it all. Houses knocked down by the earthquake and then washed away with the tsunami that hit almost right away. It has been sad to watch.
I noticed on one of the website that the Red Cross has a fund set up already. The need is great right now.
I have attached a photograph of a church down the street form our hotel that had the steeple fall down during the earthquake and a photograph of me with our cruise director, sitting out by the tennis court for the rest of the night.
CHA Member Susan Irvine Photo of Santiago Earthquake Damage
CHA Member Susan Irvine Safe in Chile
By the way, when we walked through the airport I was amazed by the beautiful hand crafted items that were for sale in all the shops. I am still hoping to get out into some of the villages while we are in South America to see and buy some of the wonderful items that they craft here.”
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