S. Bapt. assess needs in wake of 8.8 Chile quake
IMB staff
February 27, 2010

S. Bapt. assess needs in wake of 8.8 Chile quake

S. Bapt. assess needs in wake of 8.8 Chile quake
IMB staff
February 27, 2010

Southern Baptists are moving

quickly to assess relief needs in the aftermath of an 8.8-magnitude earthquake

that struck Chile at earlier today, killing at least 82 people, collapsing

buildings and setting off a tsunami.

Disaster relief specialists from South Carolina and California are on standby

to respond, said Jim Brown, director of the U.S. office for the International

Mission Board’s (IMB) primary partner in disaster relief, Baptist Global

Response (BGR).

A decision about what initial response is needed will be made

within the next 12 hours.

The epicenter was located just 70 miles from Concepcion, a city of more than

200,000 people, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

A tsunami wave struck the

Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles off the Chilean coast and tsunami warnings

have been issued for Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Chile’s

president, Michele Bachelet, declared a “state of catastrophe” in three central

regions of the country.

Several hospitals were evacuated and communications

with Concepcion were knocked out.

In the capital city of Santiago, which is about 200 miles from the earthquake,

IMB field personnel reported in a 5:00 a.m. e-mail that they had experienced “very

scary shaking” and that electrical, telephone and water services were cut off.

IMB and BGR leadership began consulting immediately during the early morning

hours after the earthquake, said Scott Holste, associate vice president for the

IMB’s office of global strategy.

“We are evaluating damage reports as they come in and preparing initial

response plans, if it is determined that a significant response is needed,”

Holste said. “Southern Baptists have ministry partners in Chile who will be

able to help respond immediately with basic necessities.”

“We know that immediate needs usually include things like food, water, shelter

and medical needs,” Brown said. “We have emergency response funds available to

help with the crisis response. Southern Baptists always respond quickly when a

disaster like this strikes. They pray and give from the heart. We’re glad to

know so many people who care are ready to spring into action to help people in


Word has been received from IMB leaders in Chile that all field personnel have

been accounted for and are safe; information about the impact on the Chilean

Baptist community is being sought. IMB will be monitoring developments and will

issue further announcements about needs and response as more information becomes