We contacted an environmental colleague in Chile today by the magic of the inter tubes, with a response barely 15 minutes later. So far so good. We have made use of a handy Spanish English web translation page - which does seem to have glitches too - but useful at times like this: http://translation2.paralink.com/
But it sounds grim there with 80% of the country affected. Remember in 2004 January tsunami in Indonesia the death toll went from a few thousand to well over 200,000.
We fear a major jump from 700 plus deaths confirmed early on in the 6th, 7th, 8th regions of this long thin neighbour of the Pacific.
The quake was a monster by all accounts. Even allowing for good construction codes, the tsunami only 15 minutes later sounds catastrophic. We heard Chile's ambassador here say on abc public radio a wave of 8 to 10 metres hit Conception and travelling 3 to 5 kilometres inland. That's danger writ large.
We got out some photographs of our trip (with an ex girlfriend) native Chilean in 2002 with our terrible old camera. We recall getting slightly drunk on red wine in a Santiago apartment on a 4th floor listening to Victor Jara for the first time when a mild tremor shook the light globe. No drama.
We recall a bus-train-ferry trip from the capital to Peurto Mont via Temuco and Chillan via local markets and even watching Spider Man movie release in a town with a statue of national hero Bernardo OHiggins. An Irishman in a Spanish speaking country. Just another charming aspect of a diverse country.
More background here in one of our first clumsy web pages, yet a successful collaboration with social movement in Chile: Patagonia ecology solidarity project to prevent a US $3 billion dollar hydro smelter project threatening fjordlands, lake and 3 rivers by Canadian miner Noranda.
We wrote in crude Spanish via the website translator:
Subject: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 13:49:19 +1100
El embajador chileno aquí en Australia de la radio pública dice la onda de 8 metros, 3 a 5 kilómetros interiores en Concepción y pueblos.... También 700 muertos sobre todo en 7o (?)
[The Chilean ambassador here in Australia on the public radio says a wave of 8 meters, 3 to 5 kilometers into Concepcion .... Also 700 dead persons especially in 7th (?) region
Marisol at Ecosistemas green group in Chile:
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 1:59 PMSubject: RE: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?
si eso es así...realmente la ola...ha afectado muchísimo a la costa de la 8, 7 y 6ta región. hay mucha gente desaparecida
y a sido decretada zona de catástrofe en estas regiones.
El problema ahora es la conectividad de las carreteras y las comunicaciones, para hacer llegar la ayuda.
[if that is like that ... really the wave ... it has affected very much to the coast of 8, 7 and 6ta region. there are many missing people
and to been decreed zone of catastrophe in these regions.
The problem now is the conectividad of the highways and the communications, to make the help come.
to see: www.tvn.cl]
We will try and post some beauty pictures tomorrow of the ocean and mountains and people we know as Chile.