The 2010 Chilean Earthquake: The Forgotten Disaster?

June 7th, 2010 9:19 pm by Kelly Garbato

In a recent plea for donations, Kinship Circle wondered whether the earthquake (and resulting tsunami) in Chile has become “the forgotten disaster” – in a year filled with both natural and man-made catastrophes:

IS CHILE THE FORGOTTEN DISASTER? May, 2010: An evacuee camp in Talquahano wants to kill all its companion animals. People who lost everything in an 8.8 earthquake and tsunami can’t feed themselves. They don’t want to watch their animals starve.

Kinship Circle and SACH intervene with food and veterinary aid. But without more funding, we can’t possibly meet the needs of 30 tent camps along Chile’s coast. We run out of sutures, latex gloves… At times we can’t afford the van rental to ferry our team, vet supplies and food.

Still, we can’t let despair propel Chileans to shoot their own animals. This speaks volumes about Chile’s quake/tsunami victims…and how the world seems to have forgotten them. People assume they can recover on their own. They’re wrong, especially when it comes to animals.

WHY IS THIS URGENT AND WHOM WILL IT HELP? Homeless guardians are unable to supply food or medicine to their animals. In the short term, animals require treatment for gashes, broken bones, lost limbs, dehydration, mange, worms, parasites or other illness. In the longer term, they need vaccines, nutrition and sterilization. Pre-quake strays with mange, malnutrition, infection…blend with animals stranded by disaster. The are scattered by the thousands along quake/tsunami torn towns like Villa Futura, Santa Clara Talchuano, Calita il Fiernillo, and Calita Los Morros, etc.

Preceded by the Haitian earthquake and followed by the BP oil “spill,” the Chilean earthquake hasn’t garnered as much attention as it might have otherwise. Indeed, though I compiled link roundups for all three disasters, the Chilean post has attracted the least traffic of the three, with views falling quickly mere weeks after the earthquake. Currently, the Haitian post receives x5 as many views as its Chilean counterpart, even though it’s two months older. Likewise (and outside of my own little slice of the interwebs), I cannot remember the last time I saw coverage of the earthquake in Chile on CNN, MSNBC, or the like. (Possibly not more than a week or two after the disaster struck?)

All of which isn’t to suggest that the survivors in Haiti and the Gulf Coast are not deserving of your support; not at all! Since most of us have limited funds and time, picking and choosing a cause or two to donate to can be a difficult, heartbreaking task. But if you have a little extra cash to spare, please consider sending it to help the survivors in Chile who have been hit doubly hard – first by the earthquake and tsunami, and later by donor fatigue.

Your donation will help to fund the rescue and care of stray and “owned” animals of many species, including dogs, cats, pigs and horses. Kinship Circle is the primary U.S.-based animal advocacy organization on the ground in Chile. They are working in conjunction with Socorro Animal Chile (SACH), a coalition of local, Chilean animal rescue groups and organizations. You can make a monetary donation to either group via its respective website. Additionally, you can keep abreast of Kinship Circle’s activities in Chile on a dedicated page, which is home to field notes, photos and action alerts.

With your generosity, Kinship Circle hopes to:

1. Send teams over several months (airfare, van rental, rescue gear…)

2. Work with Chilean staff and veterinarians to:
• Search and Rescue / Trap
• In-Field First Aid
• Wound Transport to Veterinary Clinics
• In-Field and Tent Camp Sustenance (food/water program)
• Assessment and Tracking of Animal Populations
• Support SACH Care Efforts (vaccine, spay/neuter, adoption)

Finally, please read, bookmark and share the alert page I’ve created for Chile (, along with the video embedded above (and below), created by Kinship Circle to raise awareness of the Chilean survivors’ plight. (I’ve included a transcript of the text at the bottom of this post, though without detailed photo descriptions, I’m not sure of how much use it will be.)

Times are tough; suffering abounds. Thank you for doing what you can – even if it’s “just” keeping the animals of Chile (and the world) in your thoughts…and on your lips.

the forgotten disaster?

The earthquake measured an 8.8 on the Richter scale, among the strongest ever.

The tsunami swallowed coastal towns – drowning all life in its path…

Aftershocks from Chile’s 2/27/10 quake and tsunami continued into May. Fires burned. Oil spilled…

This cat, rescued from a rooftop in Calita il Fiernillo, is coated in oil from a quake-caused spill.

Half a million homes are gone. Two million people displaced. Santiago shifted 11 inches west. Three months later, tens of thousands await more aid…

Some brought animals with them.

Others fled without them.

Streets are a blur of stray and formerly caregiven animals.

Some 700,000 quake affected animals…

Await refuge from hunger, injury, disease.

Kinship Circle is there…

Kinship Circle works with Socorro Animal Chile (SACH) staff and veterinarians in makeshift clinics along the ravaged coast of Chile.

Evacuees at 30 tent camps need food and veterinary aid for their animals.

Courtney Chandal, Team 2 Safety Officer, holds Tommy at an evacuee tent camp.

Team 2 Incident Commander, Sister Michael Marie, brings comfort to animals at an evacuee camp.

We simply don’t have enough food and vet supplies for them all…

SACH and Kinship Circle stopped a dog massacre at Talquahano’s tent camp…

The threat to kill we recur, if we can’t feed and medically treat the animals of people who lost everything.

Some would rather kill their animals than watch them starve to death.

Our work in Chile has gone largely unnoticed by donors.

But it’s not too late…

Your support lets us reach them.

Everyone gets a check-up, including this guinea pig, on the exam table with Kinship Circle’s Dan Meakin, DVM. Lota, Chile.

Kinship Circle’s June Towler, PIO for Teams 1 and 3, and a veterinarian treat this quake survivor [a dog] in the field.

Your support lets us rescue them.

Kinship Circle’s Team 1 Safety Officer, Byron Wilkes, cradles this cat rescued in Santa Clara, Chile.

SACH and Kinship Circle rescue a stray, wounded horse in Lota, Chile.

Kinship Circle and SACH veterinarian treat an open wound on Sparkle the horse’s back. Lota, Chile.

While deployed, Kinship Circle’s Dan Meakin, DVM (Team 3), operated on animals daily – on the ground, plywood boards, tailgate of a pickup. Yungay, Chile.

Team 1 Incident Commander Traci Dawson subdues a dog with advanced mange, to treat him with antidote, Ivermectin. Villa Futura.

IC Traci Dawson (Team 3), stabilizes this dog as Chilean vet Shiry Seauel Olra performs a procedure.

A boxer with a head injury (possibly from the quake) is treated in Yungay, Chile.

Your support lets us heal them.

Team 3 Safety Officer Ron Presley bonds with this crippled dog in Fundo los Robles.

Kinship’s Ron Presley and photographer Peter Crowe fashion this wheel device so the dog with paralyzed back legs can walk again.

Meet Francisco de Tubul, the tiny pup who entered this world on a crash and a wave. His deformed legs can be corrected…and he will walk and heal.

We’re dangerously low on veterinary supplies. Funding would let us purchase them right away, in Chile…

Please help us continue in Chile, for them…

Support Animal Relief Chile:

Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid
7380 Kingsbury Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130



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2 Responses to “The 2010 Chilean Earthquake: The Forgotten Disaster?”

  1. Shannon (Vegan Burnout) Says:

    Donated! Thanks for this. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed.

  2. Kelly Garbato Says:

    Lovely! Thanks, Shannon :)

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