A Letter from Lautaro Lopez, EPES Concepcion Director

Lautaro Lopez on the beach near Penco

Dear Friends of EPES, A year after the earthquake and tsunami that changed lives in southern Chile forever, once more I wish to express our gratitude for

your support, prayers and for keeping us company as we walk this difficult road to material and spiritual reconstruction of our communities. We have had twelve months of intense work, supporting families of the Penco coastal zone. We have helped these families improve their emergency housing and we have trained women in the emergency camps on health, first aid, and prevention of respiratory and digestive infections. Families who lost everything also appreciate the extensive psycho-emotional reparation work that EPES conducted with women, adolescents, and children in six municipalities of our region.

This year has witnessed much support for new organizations on issues of such importance as community leadership and mediation born in the wake of the emergency. We have made headway but many obstacles lie ahead. Rebuilding houses has been exceedingly slow, communities are not consulted as to their opinions and interests, natural and political aftershocks continue, while the lack of dignified housing is exacerbated by the lack of steady employment. On February 26, the Citizen Movement for Reconstruction with Justice and Dignity rallied in Concepción – with the participation of more than 400 earthquake victims — to express their indignation. It was heartening to see other communities hold vigils, candlelight services and other commemorative activities in

memory of missing family members, on February 27, the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami. In Chile, the new school year has just begun. Many schools still need repair; children must spend yet another year in emergency housing or with relatives; communities continue to adapt to life without running water in their sharing outdoor bathrooms, and with no definitive date for permanent housing. In the year to come EPES will continue to work with the Penco emergency camps. We will provide support to more than 100 families, winterize their temporary dwellings, support their health and

environmental committees, strengthen leadership and build mediation capacity to improve quality of life. We deeply appreciate your ongoing interest and support which has been essential to helping so many women, children and families begin rebuilding their lives. We couldn´t do it without you! With fond regards and in gratitude, Dr. Lautaro Lopez Director, EPES Concepción Fundación EPES

Published by Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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