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Aid charities send staff to Chile quake zone

Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 22:57

London: International aid charities based in Britain said Saturday they were rapidly sending staff to earthquake-hit Chile to help deal with the tremor`s aftermath.
Oxfam said it was sending a team of water engineers and logisticians from Colombia.

"Even though the severity of the situation is unclear, Oxfam is preparing for the worst and will be sending five staff out to Chile today to assess and consider how best to help the thousands of people effected by the disaster," said Jeremy Loveless, Oxfam`s deputy humanitarian director.

"The team flying in have years of experience in responding to earthquakes and Oxfam also has partners in the country who can begin to help immediately.

"Chile is a developed country with a very capable government and while it is unlikely that this disaster will be as severe as what we saw last month in Haiti, we want to be in place to help as soon as possible."

Save the Children launched an emergency appeal on its website.

"We are assessing the situation and preparing to mobilise teams to support our partners working on the ground," a spokesman said.

The British Red Cross released 50,000 pounds (76,000 dollars, 56,000 euros) from its disaster fund to support their Chilean counterparts.

"We anticipate the situation in the worst affected areas closer to the epicentre to be much more serious," said Pete Garratt, the British Red Cross disaster relief manager.

"Our fear is that this quake will have had large scale impact."

Meanwhile disaster relief charity ShelterBox said it was mobilising an initial response team from Britain and the United States.

"ShelterBox will respond quickly where needed, as the unfolding news becomes clearer and the scale of need is confirmed," said their general manager Lasse Petersen.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 22:57

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