A deadly 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early this morning, collapsing buildings, shattering major bridges and highways across a long strip of the country, killing at least 122 people and creating tsunami warnings in more than 50 countries along the Pacific basin. (The Washington Post has a good page of breaking news with maps, videos, twitter feeds and aggregated broadcast news accounts.)

The quake was vastly more powerful than the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused widespread damage and death in Haiti on January 12, but Chile is a much more prosperous country than Haiti, with average living standards among the highest in Latin America, and about 18 percent of people living in poverty, compared with 80 percent in Haiti.

So while Chile’s relative affluence will help the country head off the dire humanitarian crisis that we’re seeing in Haiti, enormous resources are still needed for reconstruction, and especially for providing a safety net for the country’s millions of citizens already mired in poverty.

Numerous international organizations already operating in Chile can act the most quickly and can use the most immediate support. Jonathan Daniel Harris did a nice round-up of groups at Huffington Post, many of which are on the list below.

How To Help

Save The Children — Save The Children is sending an emergency assessment team to Chile, and is asking for contributions to its Children’s Emergency Fund to aid these efforts.

World Vision — The international development, relief and advocacy organization has already sent its first relief flight, from Bolivia this afternoon, with supplies like tarps, blankets, plastic sheeting, and collapsible water containers for survivors. Support these efforts with earmarked gifts to families that need them.

AmeriCares — Vice President of Emergency Response, Christoph Gorder, says AmeriCares is sending medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Chile. Make a direct contribution to AmeriCares’ Chilean earthquake fund.

Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity has a continual presence in Chile, where the group has constructed more than 1,300 homes. Habitat will be essential in reconstruction efforts, especially in hard-hit rural areas.

International Medical Corps — IMC has a presence in dozens of countries around the globe, providing immediate medical care to those affected by natural disasters. Contribute to its emergency response fund.

ShelterBox — International disaster relief agency ShelterBox has mobilized a team to bring aid to Concepcion, Chile’s second largest city, which saw the worse damage.

Watch this space for updates and please add links and info on other ways to help in the comments section.


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