Updated Monday, March 1, 11 a.m. EST
IFSA-Butler wishes to reassure families and advisors that all students in Santiago are fine following Saturday's earthquake. Our Santiago Resident Director, Isabel Yevenes, has been directly in touch with all students and their host families, and she reports that all students are calm and aware of all safety precautions
Below are some facts about safety, infrastructure and our program as they relate to the earthquake:
1. All students in Santiago are safe with their host families at this time, and our Santiago office is instructing students to remain at home with their host families because of the aftershocks. All host families report that they have plenty of food and supplies.
2. As required by our Santiago office's emergency plan, host families are instructing students about safety measures in the houses during aftershocks (for instance, they know they have to stand up beneath the door frame).
3. Our Santiago resident director has offered counseling to students, but all declined the offer.
4. All the neighborhoods where our students are living are fine; there are no reports of significant structural damages or damages to streets, bus stops, supermarkets, etc. Yesterday most shops and malls reopened for business, and the Santiago subway started to run about 80 percent of its routes.
5. Electric power has returned to almost 80 percent of the city. Most students have electric service, phone lines, cell phones and Internet in their host family houses. About 90 percent of Santiago homes now have water again.
6. Health services are properly working in Santiago, especially Hospital de la Católica where we usually take our students.
7. The media have been issuing reports of looting, robbery and assaults. However, these incidents are not happening in Santiago.
8. All university staff were expected to return to work today. University officials will be meeting today to assess damage to university buildings and to determine if the start of the semester (originally planned for March 8) must be postponed.
9. Our Santiago resident director has cancelled orientation activities today. She expects to resume orientation Tuesday in an alternate location.
Even though the media have published that this earthquake was twice as bad than the one in Haiti, Chile's experience with tremors and strict building codes have given this situation a much better outcome. We know that our Santiago staff and host families will work hard to keep students safe and calm during the period of cleanup and damage assessment.
IFSA-Butler is here to help! Please contact us at 800-858-0229 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.