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Dispatch from Hualpén, Chile

April 15, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Iraida Izaguirre/Mercy Corps  </span>
    A tent camp for earthquake-displaced families near Hualpén, Chile. Photo: Iraida Izaguirre/Mercy Corps

People are still living in tents 48 days after the earthquake in Chile. Fish is a source of income in Talcahuano, and many people lost their homes and they can’t go back to the sea for fishing. Boats are still in the main street — the tsunami destroyed their dreams.

Some fishermen tried to repair their boats but it has been almost impossible — people are afraid even of walking on the seashore.

Schools have begun their school year. Teachers said that they need to feel well to help others. “Children are so scared and anxious,” said Patricia, a young teacher who works in one school in Hualpén.

I am working together with two consultants from Peru building the capacities of Educacion Popular en Salud (EPES, our local partner here in Chile), to help caregivers help children through the psycho-social healing process and re-learning social and emotional skills. We are doing this through two mental health programs: Comfort for Kids and Moving Forward.

I will keep you updated on our work here in Chile.