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    Phase One of Save The Waves' Chile Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Efforts Complete; Donations Still Needed

    STW_Muller_c19 When Save The Waves Coalition reacted to the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Chile, their first priority was bringing clean drinking water to the more remote areas of the country. That phase is now complete but the larger work is far from over. Read on for an update and a new batch of photos from the devastated VII Región del Biobío. [Chilean family in Licanten, VII Region, in front of what was their house. Their tap water comes out yellow with small bits and dust floating. Now they have filters that provide clean drinking water. Photo: Philip Muller]

    March 17, 2010, Pichilemu/Curanipe, Chile – Save The Waves Coalition, operating though a passionate volunteer ground team led by professional surfers Ramon Navarro, Greg Long and Kohl Christensen, completed the first phase of its Chile relief efforts by distributing nearly 1,000 water filters along with other essential supplies to coastal Chile. The water filters, provided by partner nonprofit Waves for Water, are now providing clean drinking water for up to 10,000 Chileans, many of who live in remote coastal areas and were cut off from clean water in the wake of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on February 27, 2010.

    Through national press recognition of the “surfers without surfboards who distribute water filters,” all of Chile is aware of the organization’s relief efforts, and the heartfelt appreciation has been overwhelming. The recognition led to an invitation this week to the home of the US Ambassador to Chile, Paul Simons, to discuss Save The Waves’ relief operations in Chile in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

    “The spontaneous relief efforts by the surfing and coastal communities have been amazing,” said Save The Waves executive director Dean LaTourrette. “I’m proud that we were all able to come together so quickly and accomplish as much as we have to help the Chilean people, and that Save The Waves was in a position to help coordinate this tremendous volunteer effort. There’s still a lot that needs to be done though, and the international surf community will need to continue to lead the way.”

    While Greg Long and crew were operating out of Pichilemu to the north, Save The Waves environmental director Josh Berry has been based further south in the Curanipe region, working alongside actor Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious) and his REACT Worldwide team of doctors and medics, an organization that was founded by Walker. “The Save The Waves–REACT effort was an incredibly inspiring teamwork experience that combined Save The Waves’ years of field experience in Chile with REACT’s medical knowledge, fearlessness and energy for disaster relief,” said Berry. “Paul threw himself into the thick of the heaviest situations with passion and intelligence. The chemistry between the organizations was immediate and we’ll definitely be working together again.”

    The distribution of the water filters marks the completion of phase one of the relief efforts, which were primarily focused on getting clean drinking water to those who were cut off in coastal areas. Save The Waves’ phase-two work will begin shortly, focusing on helping coastal communities in Chile’s Regions VI and VII rebuild and restore economic activity, including potentially fishing, surf tourism, and other businesses.

    US Media Contact: Dean LaTourrette, [email protected]; +1-415-596-7873

    HOW YOU CAN HELP:

    International support:
    • Online donations:  http://www.savethewaves.org/
    • Donations by check: Save The Waves Coalition
      PO Box 183, Davenport, CA 95017, USA; +1-831-426-6169
      Mark “Chile Earthquake” in comments/memo fields
    • Save The Waves Nonprofit Tax ID # 36-4515216
    • Contact: Lindsey Davis, +1-831-426-6169, [email protected]

    Local support, Pichilemu (supplies & other donations):

    • Polanco's Supermercado, Calle Principal, Pichilemu, Chile
    • The Pichilemu Institute of Language Studies: www.pichilemulanguage.com
    • Local contact: Quinn Campbell, +1-714-293-0620 cell, [email protected]
    Local support, Curanipe (supplies & other donations):
    • Local contact: Josh Berry, +1-415-578-8388, [email protected]

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    Actor Paul Walker and Save The Waves’ Josh Berry help a Chilean family set up a water filter system. Photo: Angel Marin

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    This journalist came to Iloca, VII Region, to offer help. He ended up manning the local fire station (which isn't really looking in good shape) as there was no one else to do it. 10 filters were left here. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The Pichilemu team and the Curanipe team meet in Constitución with Pocha (local surfer) to give him filters where they are well needed. From L to R: Rodrigo Farias, Greg Long, Noel Robinson, Angel Marin, Kohl Cristensen, Pocha from Conti and Josh Berry, local coordinator for Curanipe. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The shoreline in Constitución, VII Region, you can see how high the surge went up to. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The shoreline in Constitución. Check the height of the surge, this was full of restaurants that have almost all disappeared. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The old port in Constitución, VII Region. Not much is left, debris everywhere. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    One of the best surfing spots in Constitución, la Piedra de la Iglesia. The beach is just chaotic, no waves either. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Houses have started to be demolished in Constitucion, VII Region. People try their best to delimit their land and where their houses were. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The military presence in Constitución, VII Region, is pretty heavy. It helps feeling safer, although, this must have been one of the most affected zones of the coast, maybe worse than Concepción. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    House in the middle of the road in Constitución. Moved by the tsunami, it will have to be demolished even if the owners have sprayed "Don't demolish" on it. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Pocha, standing on/in his house, or what was his house, in Constitución. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Pocha and I went in his house; he found a working light bulb. His smile says it all -- sometimes people are incredible in how they can keep their spirits up. We experienced an aftershock while in there that made things come crashing down ... pretty scary. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    The long lines for food in Constitución. Most of the city hasn't got drinking water. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Kohl, Greg and Noel with Pocha in Constitución. Pocha completely lost his restaurant, his car, his house and his surf school with the wetsuits and boards. But even so, he knows he can rebuild and restart again. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Greg and Kohl explaining to the firemen in Curepto, VII Region, how the water filters work. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Save The Waves with the firemen in Curepto, VII Region. We left them 18 or 20 filters as some building supplies that were directly put to use. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Free haircuts for Curepto provided by the fire station to the inhabitants. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Some roads are still flooded or broken like here in Curepto, VII Region. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    This was the first family Greg and Kohl gave out water filters to in Chile near Boyeruca, VI Region. The smile on this little girl's face is incredible in these times. She spends her time catching and petting the chickens -- she's really good at it. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

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    Kohl Cristensen surfing in Infiernillo, Pichilemu. Not really good waves, but good to get the day off. Photo & caption: Philip Muller

    [With thanks to Philip for the photos and captions.]

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