MAY 15, 2015
SANTIAGO, Chile—Heavy rains inundated the Atacama region of northern Chile on March 25, 2015, triggering mudslides and flash floods—the worst in the area in 80 years. Over 30,000 people have been affected by this disaster, with close to 3,000 displaced to emergency shelters and at least 25 confirmed dead.
The branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Chile reported that no Witnesses were killed or seriously injured. However, seven homes of Witnesses were destroyed and dozens more were damaged. One Kingdom Hall, a place of worship, was completely destroyed and two others were damaged by the flooding.
In Copiapó, one of the cities hardest hit by the floods, Jehovah’s Witnesses formed a relief committee to gather information and organize the cleanup efforts. A representative of the branch office has also been sent to provide support and spiritual encouragement to Witnesses in the affected region. Witnesses from the cities of Antofagasta, Arica, Calama, Caldera, Iquique, and La Serena immediately sent supplies to support their fellow worshippers in need.
Jason Reed, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Chile, said: “We feel for the victims of this tragedy, and our relief committee is poised to assist with the long-term cleanup and rebuilding work. Our efforts are also focused on providing comfort and encouragement to everyone devastated by the floods.”
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
Chile: Jason Reed, tel. +56 2 2428 2600