Man with Sumner ties updates family on status of Chile after the quake

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Six days after a massive earthquake in Chile destroyed homes and crippled the country, a man with local connections told his parents via cell phone that he had been reunited with his wife and infant son in their Chilean village of Alhue, just south of the capital of Santiago.

Charles Standard, the son of Tom and Mary Standard of Sumner, said front-end loaders have been working in Alhue, about 100 miles from the epicenter of the quake, to knock down buildings too damaged by the quake to be repaired, to protect people from being injured in a collapse.

While Charles Standard’s cinder-block house remained standing after the 8.8-magnitude quake — one of the most powerful on record — he and his wife were continuing to stay with her family in their wood-framed home, Mary Standard wrote in an e-mail.

Charles Standard, a consultant with Implementation Services LLC of Indiana, also reported to family that aftershocks continued on Thursday, including one that registered 6 on the Richter scale and lasted for at least five minutes.

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In his phone call home, Charles Standard reported the rescue of a 90-year-old man who had been living alone but was rushed to safety by neighbors as the quake hit. The man was pulled from his house just in time to watch it collapse, Standard told his parents.

His mother wrote, “(On) Robinson Crusoe (San Juan Del Fuego) Island a 12-year-old girl woke up having a nightmare of a tidal wave. She tried to tell her parents, who told her to go back to bed, that it was a nightmare. She finally ran out of the house to the church and started ringing the bell. Enough people believed her that some 600 or so ran to higher ground, and only a handful of people died when the tidal wave hit the island.”

In the village where he lives, Charles Standard had witnessed no looting and villagers were looking out for each other, he told his parents.

Increased tides and high waves from aftershocks have been commonplace. On Wednesday, the sea rose by 30 feet near the city of Concepcion, south of Santiago, Standard reported.

He said the rises and recedes dramatically every day, beyond the normal tides.

“The thing that brings the earthquake home to me is to see how messages are running constantly across the bottom of the TV screen asking for help finding loved ones,” Charles Standard told his mother. “Even the little towns close to Concepcion have not been heard from since the quake and people are frantic for news of their loved ones.”

Food was still scarce on Thursday, Charles reported and his family had resorted to eating some of their hens.

“Though our little market is open, we dare not eat any of the meat,” Charles said. “Luz Maria’s mom is killing off her hens so we can have food to eat.”

He added that the laying hens were “really tough,” Mary Standard wrote.

Note: Tom and Mary Standard are Sun Journal contributing writers.

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