27 February 2010
The Socialist International is deeply saddened by the natural disaster which struck Chile on Saturday 27 February. The SI wishes to express its full support for the Chilean people and authorities in their efforts to rebuild the country following the earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, bringing with it both aftershocks and tsunamis.
This catastrophe has caused considerable human and material loss in the central and southern regions of the country as well as in coastal areas, and the Socialist International is very conscious of the shock, anguish and destruction which today engulf the victims.
The building of new housing for those affected, the delivery of medical aid, the re-establishment of order and the response to sanitary needs are the immediate priorities in the reconstruction of the country.
Solidarity, a fundamental value and a pillar of social democracy, must continue to be the driving force for the gradual stabilisation of the situation, for the unifying of society, for social cohesion policies and for the strengthening of the economy.
Despite the destruction caused by the earthquake - the fifth recorded occurrence of this magnitude - and the tsunamis that followed it, Chile has been able to limit the cost to life and the material damage. There has, nonetheless, been a regrettable number of victims reported and significant infrastructure has suffered from the earthquake and its consequences. However, the strength of the Chilean people, who have in the past faced and eventually overcome many obstacles, allows us to view the country’s reconstruction with optimism.
On a political level, Michelle Bachelet, the popular outgoing President of Chile, has governed the country in a spirit of democracy and freedom and has continued to ensure an efficient welfare system over recent years. The last two decades of political and economic success enjoyed by Chile leave us confident that it will not take long for it to overcome this tragedy.