UN: Chile in charge of quake relief, no appeal yet for aid
The Chilean government of outgoing President Michelle Bachelet is firmly in charge of relief operations following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and has not requested additional help, a UN official said Tuesday.
UN officials said for the second time in two days that specific requests were made by Santiago, but there were no moves for a flash appeal for donations and funds. The specific items needed by Chile include mobile bridges, satellite phones, portable electrical generators, field hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, dpa reported.
On Tuesday, UN assistant secretary general Catherine Bragg said the UN has not received any request for food aid.
"The Chilean government is in the driver's seat," Bragg said. "At this point, the government is on top of the situation, they are handling the situation well. It's a strong government with strong institutions."
On Monday, Alicia Barcena, the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) also praised Bachelet for her leadership in handling the relief operation in Concepcion, and areas worst hit by the massive quake that struck on Saturday.
"We see no reasons to mobilize other resources" in addition to the specific requests made by Santiago, Bragg said.
Bragg said the death toll in Chile stood at 723 on Tuesday. ECLAC still could not account for 19 of its staff. ECLAC has a staff of 900 workers and 1,600 family members, but the organization suffered no deaths or injuries from the earthquake.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Tuesday asked for 6.4 million dollars to support the Chilean Red Cross Society (CRCS) to assist 15,000 affected families.
The Red Cross said the funds will go to purchase relief goods, tents, tarpaulins, a field hospital, generators, water and sanitation equipment for the next six months.
Santiago said at least 1.5 million people are affected by the earthquake.