Four Seventh-day Adventist church members in Chile are confirmed dead in the wake of the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck the southern part of the South American nation on February 27, church officials have confirmed.
Two church headquarters have been severely damaged, while more than 10 places of worship have "been almost completely destroyed," according to Pastor Erton Köhler, president of the church in South America.
At the same time, the division reports United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with ADRA volunteers at Santiago's airport on March 2 and commended the group's relief efforts.
"Thanks to those who prayed and continue praying for our brothers and all who have suffered from the earthquake that happened last Saturday in Chile," Köhler wrote in an e-mail message March 5. "We remain united in intercession and supporting our fellow Chileans."
Köhler added, "Until now we have news of four killed Adventists and some still missing. We're still waiting for more news. Furthermore, we have two headquarters, the South Chile Conference in Temuco and Central Mission in Talca, Chile, [that are] highly compromised. More than 10 churches have been almost completely destroyed and some [church-related] academies and schools suffered significant damage. Many of our brothers are homeless, struggling to find food, water and a place to stay."
According to Köhler, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is continuing its assistance in the region. "ADRA is supporting the delivery of food, blankets and tents, as well as having a Canadian team working with water purification and a group of nearly 100 volunteers helping in Santiago to arrange the food to be sent to needy regions," he reported.
According to Karen Cordovez writing for the region, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and spoke with President-elect Sebastian Piñera while at the Santiago airport.
During the state visit, Project Coordinator for ADRA Chile Cristián Pincheira spoke with Clinton about the work that ADRA is doing in the country to help the earthquake survivors after Clinton approached the volunteers at the airport, Cordovez reported.
"Clinton expressed her appreciation for the work of the volunteers and related her own awareness of ADRA's work in the United States," Cordovez said.
-- With information from the Adventist Church in South America