CHILE EARTHQUAKE RELIEF UPDATE - 3/5/10 (archived): The primary focus of Save The Waves' initial relief mission is to help provide clean drinking water to the hundreds of thousands of Chileans who are currently without water. Save The Waves is partnering with Waves for Water to distribute water filters for clean drinking water, and currently has 1,000 filters – enough for up to 10,000 people to get clean water – en route to being distributed in coastal Chile, with more to follow. Waves for Water successfully provided clean water through thousands of filters in the wake of the Haiti disaster, as well as the Padang earthquake last year.
A second focus is to provide initial mobile shelter supplies to the hundreds of thousands who are currently without any housing. Tents, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets are being sourced and distributed in Chile to the hardest-hit areas, augmented with shipments being sent from the U.S.
Save The Waves dispatched environmental director Josh Berry and a small team to Chile on Wednesday, to rendezvous with ground crews there and assist in relief efforts. Josh and team have been securing supplies in Santiago and are slated to head out to the coast near the quake epicenter on Saturday.
Support has been from all parts of the world, including from the surf industry, and Save The Waves, local residents, and international travelers have assembled ground crews in the coastal town of Pichilemu. Teams are already running supplies from Pichilemu to the surrounding areas while organizing runs further south, to the areas hardest hit from the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, with the support of Save The Waves. STW is also working closely with its local partner, Maule Itata Coastkeeper, which has an office in Curanipe further south, one of the hardest hit coastal towns, to distribute water filters and shelter supplies in that region.
High profile professional surfers have jumped in to support the relief efforts, led by Chile’s own Ramon Navarro, who was traveling to the Todos Santos Big Wave Event in Mexico when the earthquake hit. Navarro, a Save The Waves surf ambassador, is working with Quiksilver's Quinn Campbell, on the ground in Pichilemu and Billabong’s Chris Evans in California to activate swift relief efforts via Save The Waves. Says, Navarro, "I sincerely appreciate support for Chile from my international surf community, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Malloy brothers, Kohl Christenson, Save The Waves, Jon Rose from Waves for Water, Greg Long's whole family, Patagonia and others - they have shown they’re true friends and care a lot for Chile. Chile needs your help so please get involved."
Save The Waves ambassador Greg Long along with Kohl Christensen also left for Chile on Friday to transport water filters along with shelter supplies, and to help with efforts on the ground.
Patagonia, Inc., the outdoor apparel company, has stepped up and provided significant support for this initiative, and has been rallying others to join the cause.
Save The Waves is also now working with Operation Rainbow, a nonprofit with extensive experience in providing medical services to impoverished regions, to provide some basic medical supplies and relief, along with expertise, with the possibility for more involvement after initial needs are better assessed. On the ground in Chile, Save The Waves has also partnered with REACT Worldwide, a dedicated network of trained individuals who act as rapid, first responders to major disasters globally, including with direct medical aid.