Episcopal Relief and Development is reaching out to dioceses affected by the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that hit Chile on Saturday, Feb. 27, killing at least 700 people.
The quake struck off the Pacific coast at 2:34 a.m. local time at a depth of nearly 22 miles. The epicenter was approximately 60 miles northwest of Chillan, Chile and 220 miles southeast of Chile's capital, Santiago. Chile is located along the Pacific Rim's "Ring of Fire," where the Nazca and South American tectonic plates cross.
The agency reported that the capital lost basic services such as water, electricity and telephones, and that Chilean authorities are working closely with emergency crews to address local needs. The quake affected an estimated 2 million people.
Some 90 aftershocks have been reported, including a 6.3-magnitude quake in Argentina.
A tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for the entire Pacific region has been canceled, but residents of many affected nations are still waiting to return to their homes around coastal areas. Caution has been advised as changes in sea level and unusual currents may characterize Pacific waters in the coming days.
Episcopal Relief & Development said it is "reaching out to dioceses in the affected areas to determine the best course of action," and asked for continued prayers for those affected.