It is becoming clearer and clearer to me just how lucky I am. Neither I nor anyone I know was hurt in the 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile early Saturday morning, at least not that I'm aware of at the moment. The house where I live suffered some damage, but it was minor compared to the destruction I've seen on TV and around the city. I had electricity, running water and internet within hours of the earthquake and have quick, reliable access to public transportation.
So many people in this country are experiencing a very different reality right now. There are people in Concepcion without food, water or shelter. When I arrived at work today, I learned that most of my coworkers still had no electricity at home and that one of them had lost her house. Her entire house. It just fell down.
So what I and all the other lucky people out there have to do now is help. I feel that the media here has been so focused on reporting the tragedy that they haven't devoted enough time to spreading the word about how we can support relief efforts. Here are some options:
1. Drop off clothing, blankets, diapers, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food at the Cruz Roja warehouse at Seminario 973 in Nunoa. It's very easy to get there by Metro (Irarrazaval, now in service) or bus (Grecia, Irarrazaval or Vicuna Mackenna). When I went to drop off food this morning, the volunteers working there said people had been throwing donations over the warehouse gate the night before. It's great to hear that so many people want to help.
2. Drop these items off at the headquarters of the University of Chile's student federation, the FECh, located at Periodista Jose Carrasco Tapia 9 (Metro Baquedano). Student groups are taking donations to affected areas like Parral.
3. Hop on your bike and bring these items to Plaza Italia (Metro Baquedano) tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. Everyone will then pedal to Cruz Roja together.
4. Donate to Cruz Roja. From Chile: BancoEstado account 362883, RUT 70512100-1, firstname.lastname@example.org. From abroad: CitiBank account 9941973331, ABA 021000089.
5. Read about other ways to help here (Google's earthquake relief page), here (Publimetro) and here (Emol). Clare and Emily have also posted about how to lend a hand.
6. Spread the word! I've learned more about relief efforts through Twitter and Facebook than through news broadcasts. Those of us lucky enough to have internet should use it to help those in need.