Families in need of medical and shelter support after earthquake

Published: 1 May 2014 15:31 CET

It's 3.30pm, the sun has yet to dim and radiates its heat on the streets of Iquique. Next to the football stadium is a camp with hundreds of families; victims of the earthquake. They watch the arrival of the Mobile Health Unit of the Chilean Red Cross hopefully as it enters the sports center to provide medical care.

The vehicle is parked and volunteers erect a tent where Red Cross personnel take records, data and vital signs of patients, with priority given to women and children.

Jorge approaches, he is from Chile and 42 years old. Like thousands of others, he and his family had to leave their homes when they were damaged by the earthquake. The stadium provided some protection. The volunteers attend to his wife and four children, two of whom have respiratory infections. They exist, Jorge says, on a diet of rice and noodles. "They are very tired and don't want to eat anymore."

Home for the family – for now – is a two metre by two metre tent provided by local authorities. It is impossible to live comfortably here, he says, and peace is hard to come by.

After the consultation, Jorge's wife Dolores receives a batch of medicine from the Red Cross.

Later, a meeting is called of the committee formed by the people living here. As they discuss potential changes to living arrangements, the children run and play on the well-kept lawn of the stadium.