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Chile Earthquake: Mantanzas Appeal

On the 27th February 2010, Chile was hit by a massive earthquake, the 5th most violent ever recorded. The small coastal tourist town of Matanzas was devastated by the violent tremors and the subsequent tsunami

Robby Swift, whose family have been long term supporters of IDEALS, was in Matanzas with his girlfriend Heidy Clawson and witnessed the destructive effects of the earthquake and the tsunami.

Robby initially undertook the hazardous, nine hour, journey to Santiago to buy supplies to clean the streets and patch up the broken buildings. He also brought back water and food for the population because the town was without power and water for 10 days. It was then decided to set up an appeal, via IDEALS, to help the people of Mantanzas and the aim of any reconstruction should not just be putting roofs over peoples heads but to rebuild the community and to restore the special atmosphere needed to bring tourists back to the area.

Matanzas is a very special destination for thousands of water sports enthusiasts who enjoy the warm welcome of the local people. Many of these people lost everything and without help they may drift away because they see no future in a place where they have nothing left.

How can donations help?

1. By purchasing fishing boats. The father of one of the local windsurfers has already ordered two new fishing boats and an engine. One of the boats will be financed from the donations via IDEALS. The boats will provide work for three families and will be given on the condition that they provide fresh fish for the school each week.

2. The front wall of the school was washed away by the tsunami and it will be rebuilt to the highest specifications.

3. Several families have lost their homes. Those with the greatest needs are being identified and the building will be planned to have a positive impact on the future community. One idea is to re-house a popular local, disabled wheel chair bound, artisan in a 'tsunami proof' house on stilts. The building would have a display room/coffee shop below with a place to display his wares and give the village a pleasant community centre. Jobs will be created for those working at the coffee shop.

Much planning and work is still to be done but, with lots of young healthy people who are helping each other, a feeling of solidarity exists making it a really good place to be. The donated money will produce a hugely beneficial effect on the lives of those local people most hurt by the tragedy and it will also extend to the rest of the community.

To make a donation, please go to our appeal page on Justgiving at Thank You

Wed 24 Mar 2010