Chile After the Earthquake
When I first heard that there was an earthquake in Chile, I wasn’t too worried. I’d lived through months of temblores during my year abroad, so I assumed it was one of the smaller varieties that used to set my apartment swaying. It wasn’t until I learned it was a massive 8.8 terremoto that I started to panic.
I remember riding out Loma Prieta–the California quake that shook furniture across my childhood home–but that was only a 6.9. Last week’s 8.8 was so powerful, it may have actually shifted the axis of the entire earth. And the effects are everywhere–bridges buckled in two, historic churches crumbled into rubble, the residue of massive tidal waves choking city streets. A chaotic Facebook update from a friend in Concepción describes “the noise, the movement, the walls falling, the sirens, the tidal wave that came to the middle of [the] block without light, without water, people looting supermarkets, pharmacies,” and yet another friend is still looking for people missing since the first quake hit. By some miracle, I’ve managed to make contact with everyone I knew still living in Concepción, but estimations of earthquake-related deaths are uncertain, moving from as high as 802 to as low as 279.
Regardless of the numbers, people have lost their only homes, infrastructure has been seriously damaged, and recovery in regions like Bío-Bío–which took the brunt of the earthquake’s impact–will take a lot of time and effort. I encourage everyone to follow the example of charity put forth by institutions like the Red Cross and Direct Relief International, whether that means donating, volunteering, or simply helping to spread awareness of events like this one.
If you’d like to volunteer abroad to help in other ways, take a minute to look at our Voluntourism page and learn about the loads of unique volunteer programs available all over the world.
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.