My niece is a Notre Dame college student on an exchange program in Chile. She arrived there three weeks ago. I just got this message from my sister, who said it was OK to use, without the names. So I am going to use initials, calling my niece C.Updates to follow.
Her msgs (all times Denver):
We just had a long talk on the phone with C. She is doing great. All the students from ND and Marquette are accounted for and ok. In fact C just got a text from the last missing guy a few minutes ago and we passed it on.
She was actually up at the time of the quake (3:35am her time). She said first the internet went out, then the power went out, then the shaking started. She sat by her window (which was open because it's summer there) and watched things shake. She said it was scary. They have been feeling after shocks, but she sounded great. She is in an apartment building in Santiago with her host mom, N, who said she has felt earthquakes, but nothing like this one. They are on the 9th floor, but have very little damage, just a bit of broken glass and plaster. Their power was only out for 2 hours. Apparently Santiago has had very strict zoning since the 1920's, so the old part of town is the hardest hit.
C just got to Santiago on thursday. For 3 weeks they had been in a rural area that was quite a bit closer to the epicenter. She is worried about the family she was staying with there. We thank God that she is ok and are praying for all the people in Chile who are not.
10:21 a.m. (After I asked how C is holding up):
she is very calm and upbeat now.
Just got an e-mail from CE, who is in charge of the students in Chile. She describes the area of Linares that the group just came from:
"I just heard from some friends that most of the buildings downtown Linares are on the floor. Several tidal waves have affected the zone too. Places that we visited recently. Chile is also cut in two, because several bridges collapsed and the Panamerican Highway is not passable."
FYI, this from Wall Street Journal story:
The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off coastal Chile in the early hours of the morning is one of the biggest temblors anywhere in more than a century.
Data from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that this morning's Chile quake tied in fifth place with an 8.8 quake that hit Ecaduor and Bolivia in 1906. Only four quakes have been bigger since 1900. The largest was a 9.5 magnitude event that struck Chile in 1960, causing 1,655 fatalities, leaving 2 million homeless, and triggering a tsunami that killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines.