Nations Offer Help but Await Chile's Aid Request

Nations have vowed to help Chile, should the country request it, following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country Feb. 11.

“The United States stands ready to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts and we have resources that are positioned to deploy should the Chilean government ask for our help,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a televised address, as quoted by The Associated Press.

Other world leaders had a similar message.

“Though we have received requests (from Chile) that countries refrain from sending missions, I want to get ready to (dispatch help) anytime if necessary, especially regarding reconstruction assistance, and I issued instructions to that end,” The Japan Times quotes Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

South Korea is also waiting for Chile’s request for assistance. The foreign ministry said it is prepared to send emergency supplies and rescue workers, according to The Korea Herald.

Spain, which holds the current six-month European Union presidency, has offered technical and humanitarian aid for the earthquake-affected zones, Financial Times reports. The EU already promised 3 million euros (USD4 million) in aid for Chile.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also affirmed his country’s readiness to “do whatever we can” to help Chile.

Canada now is evaluating how it “can best respond to the needs identified by President (Michelle) Bachelet,” a statement by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads.

Chile is one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America, and Kate Conradt of Save the Children told The Wall Street Journal that “it is not necessarily unusual for a country like Chile to not ask for international assistance,” similar to what the U.S. did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and what China did following the earthquake in Szechuan.

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino is an associate editor for Devex and leads the company's news team in Manila. She played a critical role in conceptualizing the Development Newswire. Prior to joining Devex in 2004, she has already published articles and news briefs for Internet media organizations and for the Institute for Ethics and Economic Policy at Fordham University in New York. She earned her bachelor's in political science and master's in public affairs from the University of the Philippines. Eliza is a member of Mensa Philippines.