Recent Chilean Earthquake Triggers Memories of Past Quake Experiences

I shot the beach video and reporter standup for Newscene’s Dan Bird story on an evacuation plan the City of Imperial Beach (San Diego County) has for its residents in the event a tsunami or other natural disaster hits the area.  In addition to producing Sports this week, I’m working on a “mini package” on the earthquake in Chile.  I served as a missionary in Santiago, Chile for the LDS Church some 25 years ago so I lived through the 7.8 earthquake in March 1985.  I chatted with my Chilean friends through Facebook concerning the devastation there so I really wanted to enterprise a story about Chile.  For my friends there, the disaster has brought the country together.  There is a strong sense of pride and nationalism.  Right now, the concern in Chile is the aftershocks.  One of my friends in Viña del Mar said she continues to feel the tremors there….I just hope they subside soon.

When I lived in Melipilla, Chile, most of the old, adobe-built homes were destroyed.  Ironically, the small government-built, wood-framed homes in the poor población typically survived such devastation.  (I know…we were visiting a family who lived in such a home when the 1985 earthquake hit.)  My missionary companion and I had room-and-board in a concrete, wood-framed home.  The earthquake spared our mamita’s house, but the adobe homes on both sides of us were on the ground.

So it wasn’t a surprise that Chile was relatively prepared for such a catastrophe; the country has learned from past earth-shaking experiences.  There are questions, though, as to whether the coastal towns in Chile could have received some advanced warning about the impending tsunami.

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