CHILE, Carmen María Rogers •
It is spring. The streets are particularly beautiful and bright with trees in flower and the buildings decorated with flags. The supermarkets, automatic tills, the exits to Santiago, the petrol stations…everywhere reigned the joyful excitement filled with the promise of rest during a special weekend: the eve of the national celebrations and on the 17th some only work a half day, but everyone is preparing the barbeque, the trip, the party.
People discuss the political situation, next week in The Hague; there is speculation about who the president will dance the cueca – Chile’s national dance – to kick off the celebrations (the traditional couple is the Mayor of Santiago, but she is a woman; her son, but this is being questioned); others are commenting on the unfortunate coincidence of the official opera of the gala on 18 September, “I due Foscari,” about a father’s difficult decision to punish his son with exile; they talk about the “earthquake,” the most popular drink of these celebrations, and they criticise, criticise, criticise…because the Congress is about to legalise abortion with the help of the Democratic Christian Party.
My mother is already in bed on the seventh floor (in Chile we call the “eighth” because the first is the ground floor), my sister is on her way and I’m finishing up the last few details of a delivery I need to make on the 17th.
And it begins to tremble. And it continues. And doesn’t stop
We cannot leave our mother’s bed. It is still shaking when I wrote (this medium was still available) to Maria, the coordinator of Schoenstatt.org who lives in Germany.
I speak to my sister-in-law on the phone, I send whatsapps…and I notice that the lampstand still has not stopped moving.
The television, the lights, internet, and even the cell phones continue to work!
The quake had a magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter scale. Buildings collapsed, there was a tsunami alert….for the entire Pacific coast and I think some ten people died.
The damage is massive, but nothing like 27F (the earthquake that hit the country in 2010) which affected a densely populated 400 square kilometre area.
We already have the Guinness record: the most violent earthquake of 2015.
But “here because nothing happened” we run the risk of forgetting, just as we forget the Syrians, those who are persecuted and persecute, and all those who suffer.
The tsunami alert was reverted. It is more than an hour since the last aftershock and I am ready to begin a new day. Viva Chile, viva the 18th.
In covenant and technological solidarity as Susana Stanley from our team added…
Carmen María Rogers
The Illapel earthquake of 2015 occured at 19:54 local time (UTC -3) on Wednesday, 16 September 2015, registering a magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was located 42 kilometres from Canela Baja, and 46 kilometres from Illapel, in the Coquimbo region. It was felt throughout most of Chile and in some parts of Argentina and Brazil. The traditional Pampilla de Coquibo festivities, celebrated each year as part of Chile’s National Celebrations, was cancelled as a result of the earthquake. Classes in all schools between the Atacama and Los Lagos regions were cancelled (Wikipedia).
We pray for all those affected by the earthquake – in covenant solidarity and on the 18th of September.