Quake Causes Only Material Damages
to Salesian Houses of Chile
(ANS – February 28, 2010 -- Santiago) – In spite of the great force of the earthquake which struck the south-central part of Chile early on Saturday morning, Salesian centers suffered only material damage and no personal victims. Yesterday afternoon Fr. Leonardo Santibañez, the provincial, was able to confirm this.
The most serious damage was to the Salesian houses in the region of Maule, and particularly at Linares, where the shrine dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, which survived the earthquake of 1985, has collapsed. The church of Mary Help of Christians at Talca, in the same region, suffered some damage.
The epicenter of the earthquake was in the region of Bio Bio, where the first shock was recorded at 8.8 on the Richter scale. The Salesian house in that area, the Salesian school in Concepcion, had some broken windows and some other damage, but much less serious than that in other parts on the city, pictures of which show bridges, houses, and other buildings collapsed.
There was no damage to Salesian houses in the north of the country. The Salesian house in Valparaiso suffered minor damage.
After traveling around the city on Saturday morning, the provincial, Fr. Leonardo Santibáñez; the province treasurer, Fr. Jorge Rivera; and the general councilor for the America Southern Cone Region, Fr. Natale Vitali, who is visiting Chile at this time, were able to confirm that the Salesian houses in Santiago are in good shape, with no structural damage other than some plaster fallen from ceilings and some cracks in some interior walls.
The Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez, was about to leave for Ecuador to preach a retreat for the provincials of the two American regions; he expressed his solidarity with the province and the Salesian Family in Chile.