After the catastrophic events last weekend when an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile, on behalf of all member organisations around the world, EI expresses its concern and support to the Colegio de Profesores de Chile (CPC) and the Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación Chilena (CONATECH).
The epicentre was located in the south, between Talca and Concepción, and was followed by several aftershocks and tsunamis along the entire Pacific coast.
The EI Latin American regional office was in touch with representatives of both unions. While some teachers in Maipú lost their homes, most of the union leaders escaped unharmed despite suffering material damages.
Jaime Gajardo, CPC President, explained that they are now undertaking trips in the disaster regions to evaluate all human and material damages affecting teachers and education in general, so as to organise and provide the assistance required.
Due to the high number of homes destroyed, many survivors have become refugees. This is worsened by problems with the food, electricity and water supply.
In a message to all CPC members, Gajardo reaffirmed the union’s commitment to help teachers through the aftermath of the disaster:
“I want to give all teachers the strength and support needed to stand up in these difficult times. We will create support centres. We will use all the resources we have to bring assistance to all teachers.”
The teacher unions have appealed to both standing public and private schools to be opened up as refugee shelters and aid distribution centres.
Classes throughout the country have been suspended for a week, but an official statement by the Ministry of Education on 2 Mar indicated that this will be prolonged until normality has been restored.
EI will provide more detailed updates on the situation of Chilean teachers and students in the coming days.