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Jamaicans in Chile safe and sound

Published:Thursday | March 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

No Jamaicans have been reported hurt or killed in the 8.8-magnitude earthquake which rocked the South American country last Saturday, Chile's ambassador to Jamaica, Alfredo Garcia, told
The Gleaner

Garcia said three Jamaicans living in some of the areas most affected by the quake telephoned relatives in Jamaica to say they were OK.

According to the ambassador, there is a small number of Jamaicans living in the rural town Talca and the coastal city Concepcion.

He explained that some were there because they were married to Chileans while others are studying.

Garcia, who is in touch with government offi-cials in Chile, said there is urgent need for water, generators, mobile hospitals and specialised equipment to help reach people who are trapped in buildings that were damaged.

Massive earthquake

He said the tsunami which followed the massive earthquake wiped out the southern towns of Lota, Constitucion and the Juan Fernandez Islands.

Despite this, he said tough building codes and Chileans' familiarity with quakes helped to minimise the devastation.

"The people know by experience that after earthquake comes a tsunami, so they ran to the hills," he explained.

Approximately 800 people were killed, some two million displaced and 500,000 homes damaged by the temblor, which is reported to be the fifth most powerful in the world since 1900.