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First post-earthquake house goes up in Chile

April 8, 2010




In the city of Curepto alone there are 1,554 houses rendered uninhabitable by the recent earthquake. United, we can continue to rebuild Chile, house by house.

CHILE – José Aguilar, of 82 years, and his wife Blanca, 78, have lived in Curepto since 1963. In this same house, they raised their 10 children.

The night of February 27, José and Blanca watched as decades of work fell to the ground. “The door wouldn’t open, we just heard noises and the walls were falling,” says José. “I hugged my wife and expected the worst, until my son broke down the door and was able to save us. If he hadn’t, I would not be here to tell you this.”

After the earthquake, their home was declared uninhabitable. The couple spent many days sheltered in a tent on the cold ground, with winter approaching. Thanks to assistance from Habitat for Humanity Chile, the local municipality, donors and volunteers, they began construction on their new home.

Volunteers from Talca, the capital city of the Maule region and about an hour and a half from Curepto, united with Habitat for Humanity Chile to help build the family’s new home.

José Francisco, one of the volunteers, expresses gratitude for having been able to rebuild José and Blanca’s home, together with the rest of the group. “We would work 24 hours a day, if it were possible, to rebuild Curepto one house at a time,” he says.

Today, José and Blanca move into their new home, and will no longer fear the cold ground of their tent floor.

Through the “Newen Ñeque for Chile” project (Physical and Spiritual Force for Chile) a total of 10,000 families will be served in the five earthquake-affected regions, prioritizing the most vulnerable (O’Higgins, Maule, Bio Bio). This includes 4,000 repaired homes and 1,000 core homes using pre-fabricated, low-cost, climate appropriate and earthquake-resistant materials. 5,000 additional families will be served through Habitat Resource Centers, strengthening disaster response and recovery capacity in affected communities.

For more information about disaster response in Chile, please visit