Although our focus is on long-term development, FEDES has the capacity to respond rapidly in case of disasters. We maintain close collaborative ties with a network of international organizations such as Direct Relief International, Americares, and Globus Relief International, which provide services and support in emergency situations.
In FEDES’ founding year of 2002, major storms and the worst flooding Chile had suffered in 100 years left 60,000 families homeless. Within 48 hours a planeload of essential equipment and materials landed in Chile from Humanitarian Services in Utah, and several containers of aid were shipped to FEDES for distribution. Beginning with those actions, a humanitarian aid program was created which extended throughout several months and included emergency housing for some families.
On February 27th, 2010, a massive earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale struck off the Chilean coast. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami destroyed a half a million homes, took over 500 lives and left 2,000,000 people homeless. Again, FEDES mobilized its resources, both inside of Chile and internationally, to meet the most urgent needs of the communities located in the disaster zone. Relief efforts took a two-pronged approach. First, immediate relief aid in hygiene kits and care supplies, food, blankets, wheelchairs, etc, was given to those most affected, particularly those who lost their homes or were injured. Second, we provided long term support in equipment and supplies for the public health infrastructure in the disaster zone that serviced the population affected and which had suffered considerable damage.
Over the first year, fourteen containers of medical equipment and medicine were donated to hospitals and public health clinics in the regions affected by the earthquake. FREE WHEELCHAIR MISSION donated 3,000 wheelchairs for the disabled and several health clinics in low income areas of Santiago that had been damaged in the quake were repaired with funding provided by DIRECT RELIEF International.
These actions were all made possible thanks to our partners DIRECT RELIEF INTERNATIONAL, AMERICARES, GLOBUS RELIEF INTERNATIONAL, VIDA USA, FREE WHEELCHAIR MISSION and FAMILY CARE FOUNDATION. They were also carried out in coordination with the Chilean Minister of Health and regional entities of the Chilean government.