FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tsunami warning passes as staff move in to ChileFeb 28, 2010
Details on the impact of the earthquake on Chile are still emerging but Oxfam's emergency response team is now en route and set to arrive in country on Monday.
Poor telecommunications in Chile are making it hard to get a true picture of the extent of the damage but the infrastructure damage to arterial roads and airports is hampering the speed of the response.
Jeremy Loveless, Oxfam’s deputy humanitarian director, says:
“Access to the affected area is often difficult during the first 24 hours after an earthquake and it is deeply frustrating that it can take some time to get our staff to where they need to be. Our team has to drive over the top of the Andes on badly damaged roads to get to Concepcion because the Santiago airport is still closed.
“Until our team has been able to reach the affected area and complete an early assessment, we are unclear how we will best be able to assist the thousands of people affected by the quake.
"Chile has an effective emergency response system, and a government that is able to organize relief. At this stage, it is unlikely that we will need to respond in the same way as in Haiti or Pakistan but until our team actually reaches the affected area we will not know for sure."
In the Pacific Islands, Oxfam had staff and materials on standby in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea but the tsunami warnings have now passed.