I am together with my wife and family in law awaiting news about our family over there.
update : 90% of all our family is alive and healthy but some have lost their appartement or house, we have no news at all about our family in Concepcion, which is hardest hit and where people are still being rescued or recovered. There is no food, water, electricity or phones over there and public order is breaking down. So this is not very re-assuring. You are happy that they have survived this, but the big question is : now what ?
When you have been in Chili you know that the public transportation is carbased (see the damaged roads), the electricity is above the ground with cables laying everywhere, the public healthinfrastructure (and emergency services) are underfinanced and underequipped and aside from the big beautiful centers of the big cities people are living in small brick houses (which made the difference with the deathtoll in Haiti) or wooden houses at the coast (hit by Tsunami afterwards). The underfinancing and underorganisation of the public services will become the biggest headache in the coming weeks for this neo liberal Chicago school economic showcase in Latin America. How a centerright president and government will handle this reconstruction will show if they accept the limits of this model or just want to expand it even further. Also there are between half a million and two million people who seem to have lost their house (and in fact everything as most just have enough to survice comfortable but survive). How does a democracy cope with that ? The US Chicago model worked because people were always giving some (small) perspective, they always got enough to further in life (and consume more). This has all been shaken to the ground now. People are paid by the day, week or month, but there is no work, so who will pay ? This and another thousand other question go through our minds as we watch the enormous impact of the devastation.
we are watching permanently CNN and UStreams.TV which restreams CHiliTV
we also are follwoing twitter that shows again that it is becoming the international universal message center in times of crisis. The problem is that as everybody is not on the same chatsystem so Twitter is becoming the only system to send messages to people who may be on yahoo, msn, google, facebook or any other social of chatsystem
some had doubts about twitter but it is proving itself to be indispensable in times of crisis. Maybe it should be taken over by the government or an international institution because it is too important to let into the hand of a few speculators and young enterpreneurs.
one thing about risk that is staying into my mind is the analysis that the buildings who had survived the earthquake of 1960 (9.5) didn't survive this one 50 years later. It means maybe that even if buildings suvrive an important earthquake they shouldn't be kept indefinitely. They should be indexed as damaged and their destruction should be planned.
an interesting report about the damage is this one
the other thing that I remember from my honeymoon to Chili are all those telephone and electricitylines that were hanging in the air above the streets in an amazing chaotic form of art. Now they say that the cities that are hardest hit most of those cables are cut and laying on the streets. Maybe they should be put in or above the ground. Maybe this is an historic change to change this distribution network. (and lay some gaslines as well)
It is also surprsing that in a country with so much sun there are so few installations that use this energy to make electricity or that there are so few electrical products or installations that are selfsufficient by using the sun
For those researching information, stay with ustreams.tv and cnn.com there are already a whole bunch of crooks setting up spyware and malware sites. It is maybe time that Google in times of crisis only accredits historically known real sources of good information and donation at the highest places in their search engine and push those new crooksites to the lowest places.THis is not the case for the moment.
Even better would be that Google gives a handmade page with the most trustworthy accredited sites that give the best realtime information and where you can donate without fear of losing your accounts of identity. Something between a directory and a search engine that also can be updated if needed.