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Prayers and Support Urged for Chile

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By Michael Hill

Catholic Relief Services is accepting donations to help those in Chile affected by the powerful earthquake that struck the South American country on Saturday.

CRS will be supporting the relief efforts of the local Catholic Church through Caritas Chile, the social service arm of the Catholic Church in Chile, which is responding with food and other assistance.

Residents sort through debris

Residents inspect debris on the coast in Pelluhue, a town close to the epicenter of an earthquake. Photo by Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero, courtesy www.alertnet.org

"We ask all to give their prayers and support to the people of Chile at this difficult time," said CRS President Ken Hackett. "It must be remembered that Chile was one of the first countries to give help to Haitians in their suffering."

CRS will assist Caritas Chile with donations and has offered expertise. "The magnitude and depth of the catastrophe which has affected the poorest regions of the country will require the support of Caritas members in Latin America and worldwide," said Caritas Chile Director Lorenzo Figueroa. "Above all, hope is needed among our suffering people."

Figueroa said that Caritas Chile is collecting food that is being sent to the areas most affected by the magnitude 8.8 quake.

"Caritas Chile is working in coordination with governmental and civil society organizations in establishing a national help network in spite of enormous communications difficulties," he said. "Our own communications network and capacity to offer warehouses and points of collection and distribution are immediately available."

Michael Hill is CRS' communications officer for sub-Saharan Africa. He is based at the agency's headquarters in Baltimore.

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