April 6 2010

President of SOS Children's Villages gets a first-hand impression of areas affected by Chile's massive earthquake

06/04/2010. The President of SOS Children's Villages, Helmut Kutin, visited the emergency programmes that SOS Children's Villages Chile implemented in Concepción and Tumbes to support over 800 children affected by the quake.

Photo: Fernando Espinoza
Helmut Kutin brought a message of hope to people living in heavily destroyed areas of Chile - Photo: F. Espinoza

Accompanied by several national and international representatives of SOS Children Villages, Kutin visited the southern city of Padre Las Casas in order to officially inaugurate an SOS Children's Village there. More importantly, however, he also visited the SOS Emergency Programmes currently operating in one of the most affected areas of the Chilean territory that had been widely devastated by the quake and subsequent tsunami. He brought a message not only of support for the organization to the children and their families but also of hope for the tens of thousands of people that have lost everything, including their relatives.

Kutin visited the SOS Children's Village Concepcion and the emergency programmes at Caleta Tumbes, where he attended a meeting with the different local community leaders in order to hear their voices and worries first hand. Caleta Tumbes is a small town which was totally destroyed by the tsunami. Here, the organization is currently supporting 50 children with daily meals and organised activities designed to help them overcome their often dreadful experiences.

In his speech, Helmut Kutin acknowledged the exemplary work of the SOS Emergency Team volunteers that have been giving support to those in need immediately after the quake, and urged them to continue their work with the same zeal and commitment.

Even though the visit ended after this, Helmut Kutin's first-hand experience of the destructive power of earthquakes was far from over: as he was being driven to the airport of Concepción in order to return to Santiago, a strong aftershock of 5,9 magnitude on the Richter scale shook the earth.

Chile was hit by an earthquake of a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale on 27 February, causing widespread devastation and killing more than 700 people.