I can’t really comment on what it is like to be in Chile right now. I think I have felt things in the 4/5 range in Chile— but 8.8! Never. And, yet, it is so hard to be here, on the outside, not knowing what is going on. Waiting for the phone lines to resume and wondering. Even now, after talking to both my families and S, I wonder who I have forgotten, I wonder who is missing.
I can’t tell you how it really was—other bloggers, however, are doing a great job. So far I have read:
I don’t however want to just talk about the experience of watching an earthquake from the outside. I want to talk about how I am feeling on the inside. This episode so clearly demonstrates that it is not earthquakes that kill people, but rather the poverty they live in and the way we as a society have chosen to cut corners to keep down costs. This earthquake was stronger than the one in Haiti; yet, at the end of the day, there will be less deaths. Constructions in Chile are meant to withstand earthquakes—the country is, after all, on a fault line. In fact, there are laws about how sound structures need to be to get permits and be built. Too many of the images I see are of new structures (meaning corners were cut and safety precautions were not taken) or poor neighborhoods (safety was thrown out the window for cost).
I get that there would have been damages anyways. I get that people probably would have died. I get how huge and scary the experience must have been— and I am not trying to take that away from anyone. I am just looking for social responsibility and a recognition that we have the capacity to stop much of the death toll when we want/chose/have the political will/invest to.
I will finish with Nicholas D. Kristof’s facebook post this morning: The Chile and Haiti earthquakes remind us that it’s not just natural disasters that kill, but also poverty. So many died in Haiti because many homes were cheap and fragile. Chile is far better off and though the quake magnitude was 1000 times greater, casualties may be fewer. A 1960 quake in the same spot in Chile was even stronger but killed only 1655 people.
And a shout out on the photo—which I did not take as I am not in Chile. But, the person who took it has great photos in the series. Click on the photo and go check them out!