Ministry for Foreign Affairs 04 March 2010
Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation
Gunilla Carlsson on the earthquake in Chile
Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson stresses the Swedish Government's deepest sympathies for all those affected by the earthquake in Chile on 27 February. The death toll is now at 800 people. It is estimated that two million homes have been destroyed. The extent of the damage is still being assessed. However, it is clear that the earthquake has severely affected the country's infrastructure. There is a shortage of electricity, sanitary services, food and water. Telecommunications are unreliable.
"We feel a great sense of commitment towards the Chilean people at this difficult time. Sweden and Chile enjoy close relations and have a long tradition of solidarity, particularly through the large number of people in Sweden with Chilean backgrounds. I will be meeting Chile's Ambassador in Stockholm in person to extend our sympathies and discuss the challenges facing the country," says Ms Carlsson.
Sweden has received a request for assistance from Chile and has offered contributions via the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. This agency has extensive experience of supporting emergency humanitarian contributions, both with equipment and staff. Among other things, Sweden is contributing two experts to the EU mission to assist Chile.
"I am very pleased that Swedish expertise can be offered at an early stage of operations. We are also prepared to provide further support to relief operations in Chile," says Ms Carlsson.
The EU offered humanitarian assistance at an early stage, and is in dialogue with Chilean authorities. The EU is prepared to contribute EUR 3 million and is cooperating with Oxfam, Save the Children, the Red Cross and other organisations. The EU is also working on sending an assessment team to assist the Chilean rescue services.
Some 600 Swedes are registered as residents of Chile. In addition, an estimated two hundred Swedes are temporarily visiting the country. The Swedish Embassy in Santiago is open and working as a crisis organisation from its regular premises. The Consular Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is also assisting in the work of locating Swedes in the country. Due to the infrastructure damage, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is advising against unnecessary travel to the worst-hit regions of Maule and Biobio.
work +46 8 405 10 00