Our thoughts and prayers remain with Japan’s communities impacted by today’s earthquake, one of the largest in history.  As we continue to monitor the situation, the ELCA has been in contact with companions throughout the region threatened by the earthquake’s ripple effect sending tsunami waves throughout the Pacific region.

Reports from ELCA Global Mission personnel located in Latin America state that precautionary measures were taken to evacuate most coastal communities.  Anxiety in the region decreased after initial reports from Hawaii indicated the impact would be less than originally anticipated.

Chile continues to wait for the last tail end of the tsunami to come to shore sometime late tonight.  According to ELCA companion EPES in Chile, since early this morning families were informed about the situation in Japan.  In coastal areas, schools were suspended so that families could take precautionary measures.  In Penco, families of two camps that EPES continues to work with after the devastating 2010 earthquake have moved to elevated areas or are awaiting further instruction from government authorities.  Local news services report some 80,000 to 130,000 Chileans are part of the country’s evacuation measures.

The video below from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) illustrates the earthquake’s ripple effect through the Pacific region.

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