Saturday, 15 May 2010

What is going on in Chile after the Big Quake

This is what an Earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale looks like:

My dear friends after some weeks I am back to tell you that we are still having aftershocks and that my house is great: firm and strong as a stubborn old lady.

This house was built in 1960 and has seen 5 really big earthquakes , the last one was the second biggest ....... the house is made completely of Oak and other hard woods , noble woods, and instead of breaking it swayed with the movement , it was similar to being on a ship in bad weather on the high seas.

We were lucky unlike some:

And the following is the damage that it caused in Chile on a cold Saturady morning , 27th Feburary 2010 at 3:34 am and lasted an incredible 2:30 minutes.

[Please click on the photos to enlarge them]

Most of the damage to buildings was concentrated on the old historic Spanish constructions of adobe.

But there were also some modern structures which collapsed , mainly due to bad construction practices [i.e. corruption somewhere along the line]

  • Here are some videos shot during the earthquake just to give you an idea what it was like:

At this moment we are busy trying to help where we can . Very sad and harsh times for some people especially with winter coming soon and already the temperture has dropped during the late afternoons and night, much earlier than usual.

Funny thing with the earthquake , Angol a town some 30 Km north of where I live, is the capital of Tomato farming , the day after the quake the plants began to die off........... many scientist from around the world and locals were baffled , they initaliy thought that a pest or disease of the cultivation was the prime cause ...later the investigation found that the earthquake caused STRESS in the plants and they basically died ...... the cattle stopped producing milk , only enough for their calves , only lately milk production is increasing........... and lets not talk about the wheat production , just in this region some 16000 hectare where lost , the rest is only suitable for stock feed, so this year the sack of flour will be a lot more costly. The potatoes also suffered in the quake , again it was stress related.

The same is occurring with trees and bushes , sudden die off . Also there is an increase of head and neck related medical problems ; mandibular dislocation or severe facial pain , toothaches and loss of tooth enamel , also an increase of head aches and discomfort , this was found to occurr mainly in males .

Reason ...... that during the quake instead of screaming or showing that they where scared and distressed they would grind the teeth with such a force to a point that they damaged their mandibules and/or teeth and also their neck muscles.

There are a lot of very educated people , teams from many Universities from around the world especially USA here examining the after effects .

And they are all dumb founded with what they are discovering.......

Chile is a seismic country, people know that if the quake epicenter is near the coast or at sea and if you can't stand upright then they must head towards higher ground , it's a Rule of Thumb. This is one of the reasons why we didn't have a huge death toll like in other countries .

However those who did die [the majority of the deaths after the 8.8 earthquake]
where those that trusted the word of the past Government , who in their stupid wisdom announced by radio and TV that their was no fear of Tsunamis , quote from President Bachelet "... no fear of Tsunamis hitting the Chilean coast.." , even though at that precise moment the first waves where already hitting the southern coasts of Chile.

Those that had already fled the coast to the hills
,shortly after the quake believed what they were hearing and returned to their homes and eventually died when the 2nd and 3rd waves hit .

Here are photos of the devastation that the Tsunami left behind in some of Chiles most important coastal towns .

Amongst this towns hit and completely destroyed was Talcahuano , the Chilean Navys ship building port and also one of Chiles busiest shipping ports. What you will see is the carnage that the Tsunami left behind with fishing vessels being thrown about like plastic toys , some being taken some 5km inland.
[Click on the images to enlarge]

Shipping containers were thrown around like lego blocks

The water destroyed everything in its path the only structures to survive where those made of cement or brick

All other structure gone only to be washed up later on the famous tourist beaches of Southern Chile

President Bachelet surveys the disaster in an Air Force Black Hawk

This is lovely Juan Fernadez Island ,part of the chain of Islands that Robinson Crusoe Island belongs too , as you can see it is quite idealic ........... before the Tsunami:

After the Tsunami sheer devastaion:
[click on the images to enlarge]

Here are some videos of the tsunami in the south :

The first video was taken by some people who where camping in the mountains and were returning home only to see the 35foot wave hit and completely destroy there town , they film it from high and later go down , you can here the cows affraid etc..

The second was taken in Dichato a small holiday town that was also wiped
out.Ignore the news presenter at the begining , The person who filmed it is standing on the north side of the bay and what you see and here is the town being washed away , you can see car headlights floating by and here people screaming . The night of the 26 of Feb 2010 there was a massive festival on the beach and many people slept there in tents and cars and it was here that the greatest amount of people died.

And here is another one seen from the 2nd floor of a house , the water is already in the town sweeping everything away , you can here and see dogs and people , and you can here those up high yelling at others to hold on .

One month and a half has past since the quake and we still have some places
where there is no water (the pipes and water main collapsed or completely ruptured), as well as the gas pipelines. There are about 2 million people without homes , most of them where either swept away by the Tsunami or collapsed or damaged to the state of being uninhabitable . Even though the Government has started a plan of reconstruction , building some 6000 emergency houses , more than what was built in the past 10 years, and even this is falling short of what is needed . What doesn't help is that all the WoodMills and Processing plants , those that cut to size all the wood needed for construction where destroyed by the Quake and resulting Tsunami , out of 36 plants only 1 survived and only now some more have been restored into some sort of production mainly for the construction of Emergency Housing. What is amazing is the quality of hi rise buildings here , many experts from around the world have marveled at the quality of construction , those that did collapse where badly built and did not follow the regulations . Not many people died from those buildings that did collapse because of earthquake safety drills , they have drummed into them that there has to be a radio , torch and whistle handy at all times . Those trapped used the whistle to let people know where they were thus allowing rapid rescue.

Lessons learned: Bug out bags always ready , torches and candles , matches or flints , radios and walkie talkies essential , water is priceless , warm clothing and shelter [ camping equipment or tarpaulin ] , Food : non perishable and ready to eat [canned food or MRIs] .