The Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) held a free clinic and distributed relief goods in a village in central Chile devastated by the earthquake in February last year. They provided care for 135 patients and gave rice, noodles, sugar and other necessities to 112 families.
They held the event in Morza village, part of Teno town with a population of between 5,000 and 10,000 people in Maule state. This was one of the areas worst hit by the quake on February 27 last year, which had a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale, the sixth most powerful ever recorded. It left more than 560 people dead and caused damage of at least US$15 billion. Fifteen months after the disaster, many of the villagers in Morza still live in pre-fabricated houses and lack basic necessities. For income, they rely on odd jobs and only have steady work during harvest time. It has one health center, with a single physician.
The clinic was staffed by seven people, including a gynecologist, pediatrician, ophthalmologist, nurses and volunteers. They made a journey of 180 kilometers to reach the village. During the clinic, the volunteers helped the patients to check in and consult the right specialist. A total of 135 patients received care. The goods were given to 112 families; the items included powdered milk, tomato paste, sweaters, socks and scarves. The town mayor came to show her support; she said that she was touched by the concept of Master Cheng Yen that people who are materially poor can have a rich spiritual life.
Master Cheng Yen praised the work of the volunteers in Chile. She said that the earthquake in Chile had created a bond with Tzu Chi and its volunteers there had already started to make a contribution. "They are the seeds of Tzu Chi. Wherever there is a disaster, our Bodhisattvas are in the front line. Now that we held our fourth free clinic in Chile, there are local volunteers."
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