Gets Close Up View of Chilean Quake
Rachel Miller ’09
Rachel Miller ’09, who worked
as the college relations writing intern her senior year,
was visiting a friend in Santiago, Chile, the nation’s capital,
where she witnessed firsthand the 8.8-magnitude
earthquake on February 27, and numerous aftershocks. It is
estimated that more than 300 people died in Chile as a result of the earthquake.
Miller is visiting hard-hit villages south of Santiago this
week to assist with clean-up and delivery of needed supplies.
She recently answered questions for the Gate.
Where were you during the earthquake and aftershocks? Had
you experienced an earthquake before? What was it like?
Miller: I was here in Santiago sleeping when the first one
came. I've been in Santiago for all the aftershocks, too.
I've never experienced anything even close to an Earthquake—I'm
from Minnesota, and that stuff doesn't happen there. It felt like being on a
big heavy boat, rocking back and forth. Like sitting on thunder, but without
Gate: How has the country mobilized
since the earthquake? Has life returned to
"normal" in any way?
The February 27 earthquake
struck near Concepción, Chile's second-largest
metropolitan center, about 200 miles south of Santiago.
RM: People are working regular
workdays in Santiago, going through inspections to make sure
their buildings are solid. All around Santiago volunteers
meet to organize donations and to put together packages of
food and water to send to the more severely affected areas.
Troops have been sent to various cities to control incidents
of robbery and to stop the sacking of grocery stores. Life
in Santiago is more quickly returning to normal than life
in the smaller towns. In those places life won't return to
normal for another four, five years, until industries can
be re-established and houses can be rebuilt. The most exciting
thing about not returning to normal is watching chilenos band together. You can't drive a mile in the south without
seeing a Chilean flag, and all the cars are scrawled in white
paint: VAMOS CHILE! FUERZA CHILE! (Let's go Chile, Chile
Gate: What do you recommend
we do to support Chile's recovery effort?
RM: If you
can't fly down to help build someone's house, then go to
the Salvation Army's Web site and donate some money. It'll
take billions of dollars to rebuild the thousands of small
towns that have been decimated, the fishing industry, the
flattened wine-growing regions.