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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Physical Therapy and Risk Maps


My posts come less frequently and the pause is longer-which is right in line with the new phase of reconstruction. Although not as quick-moving as the disaster, there is still TONS going on and lots to do. My interesting news from the past weeks was the discovery of risk maps and municipal disaster prevention plans done my swiss NGO COSUDES and the National University. Red areas on the map to your left mean DONT LIVE HERE. Of course, lots of people live there. and some of them died. There are maps like this done for EVERY part of the nov. 7th disaster area. The maps and plans were presented to mayors in each area in 2003. Of course, none of the prevention details were put into place. maps ignored and not shared with any local citizens. When i showed this information to people in Santiago, they were apalled and shocked. How could this life saving information be hidden from them?

I hope to disseminate this information and work with the national university to update the maps and plans. This is especially important since the local government wants to move EVERYONE out of Joya Grande to a very dangerous neighborhood. Interestingly enough, japanese investors want to build a tourist center on the lake. Is the government trying to keep its citizens safe? is there a backdoor business deal going on? its hard to say, but whats for sure is that the people don't want to leave if they don't have to. risk maps can be very, very powerful...

As we move into our official reconstruction programming (agriculture, art therapy (poetry and painting), community organizing, and mental health),we plan to work for 9 months. We think the money will run out by then, but also we may be a REAL legal NGO if we can find the funds and get the grants. Time will tell.

Until then, we will accompany about 100 people in 3 communities in our 4 programs. Hopefully, by the end of 9 months communities can write thier own disaster prevention proposals to the red cross, for example. in 9 months, we hope to move from recovery to prevention.

Finally, I want to highlight Alexis, who came and did physical therapy for a week in Santa Maria. When she emailed me in January and asked if she could help i resound en E-shouted YESSSS!
We all have something to offer these communities. In november and december it was our arms and legs, but now it is our special skills. unfortunately, we could not work with alexis in unorganized communities like joya grande which got us thinking...

1. organized communities get more aid and are better to work with.
2. NGO that need results like to work with them.
3. unorganized communities are unfairly disadvantaged. who will help them organize?
4. WE WILL!!!

Daughters of Charity came to build houses in Santa Maria (the organized community) as a pilot project. The explained to us that while joya grande needs houses more urgently, santa maria was easier to work in because the community would collaborate. Awesome for Santa Maria. But the rest? Guess we gotta get to organizing!
Thanks to alexis for volunteering!

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