Curtis's sister, Jenn, had called and was asking if we had heard from mom and dad (my in-laws). We said no and asked what was wrong.... she then informed us that in the middle of the night an 8.8 magnitude earthquake had hit a little outside Santiago causing mass destruction and tragedy.
We jumped out of bed as fast as we could and immediately start checking emails, calling phones, and looking at Facebook trying to get into any kind of contact with them. Luckily, we received an email shortly from Curtis's father informing us that they were shaken, but safe.
Just by chance they happened to be out of town for a client's wedding that weekend. They were located about 4 hours north of Santiago when the quake hit. They still felt it where they were, but most buildings in that area were safe and stable. There were forced to stay at their hotel for a few extra few days because lines were down, roads were blocked, and mom and dad didn't know if it was safe to head home yet.
Again, their luck continued and when they were able to return home and saw that it was okay and no damage had fallen on their home. Chile has known it shares of earthquakes and most buildings in Santiago are newer from being destroyed by past quakes... so, though damaged, Santiago was a lot more prepared and luckier than other cities.
Curtis's parents have kept us updated and in touch with how things are going down there. With sad stories of looters, families lost, and people going hungry. But a couple of days ago we received an email from Curtis's dad who was finally able to get in contact with a couple of his employees who are living in Concepcion, the city that was effected most by the earthquake. His email reads...
March 5th, Update on the Quake.
There are still frequent aftershocks here in Santiago, but things are much worse in the south.
Yesterday, March 4th was the first time since the quake that I was able to speak with Patricio, my Sales Manager for southern Chile. The phones there still don't work, but I was finally able to each him on Skype. Patricio lives in Concepcion near the epicenter. He and his household are OK. His house suffered some damage, but they are staying there. His parents house was destroyed and what was left was stolen by looters. His aunt and cousin were killed in the quake and two uncles are missing. There had been much looting in the street and it has not been safe to go out. His electricity and water was restored just yesterday (5 days after the quake).
When I asked him if they had food, his voice filled with emotion and while weeping with gratitude he said, "Yes, we have plenty of food, the Mormons down the street have made sure that every house in the neighborhood has food to eat." Patricio's family are not members.
When describing the family situation, he said that it was difficult for the kids. Without electricity the nights are long and dark, (The quake came during the night and there are hundreds of aftershocks, many reach over Richter 7). He said that it was important for the kids to be able to go outside during the day, but with so many looters and thieves in the street it is not safe outside. "So all the kids in the neighborhood got to the Mormon Church down the street and play where it is safe."...
Then tears came to my eye, count your blessing. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
This letter touched Curtis and I on so many levels. We are touched that Curtis's parents are lucky and not in that same situation, saddened by Patricio's loss, by their families state, but also by the kindness of his fellow neighbors. As members of the Mormon church ourselves, it was wonderful to see the love of our fellow members taking care and reaching out to those in need.
The Mormon church (actually the LDS church) has asked for their members to have a year food storage for their family in their home. Curtis and I have been living as college students for several years and have lived in small apartments and are constantly moving around... so, we have not taken the guidance of our church as seriously as we should... with excuses of "not enough space" and "I dont want to have to move all of it in a few months". We have not even gathered any kind of emergency kits for our family.
With seeing how our family and the people around them that have been affected by this earthquake, it has made us realize how important it is to be prepared. Not only so we can take care of our family, but those around us as well.
So, from now on every so often I am going to start posting idea, items, ways to store food for our families, items not to over look, and how to keep it all safe. Whether you are LDS or not this is something I believe is important to have. If you would like some more information now, before I start posting, you can get some storage ideas for a intense 72 hour kit for your entire family here. 72 hour kits are great because in most disasters it takes at least several days for electricity and water to get back on; so having the bare necessities for those few days can make a huge difference.
-on another note-
My sister Michelle over at Scribbit happened to interview our parents about The Great Alaskan Earthquake. Both our mom and our dad were here in Anchorage when it happened and she has a video/podcast interview with them and their experience with it. Not only is it very interesting, but it helps to show the importance of being prepared. I would strongly recommend going over to Scribbit and checking it out. Here is a link to her post... Scribbit: March 27, 1964. 5:36