Saturday, 27 February 2010

Earthquake

You will have all heard of the massive earthquake in Chile. One of the largest recorded. Obviously all thoughts of the race pale into insignificance versus the loss of life and destruction in the country. I know some competitors are already out there. Some of them are actually in Santiago, which is closer to the epicentre (and scenes of considerable destruction of roads/bridges on the TV) than San Pedro (Atacama Desert) which is far away from the affected area, and I understand unaffected.

Racing The Planet are monitoring the situation and are due to update tomorrow, according to the briefing on their website. Santiago airport is damaged and is shut for at least 3 days according to BBC news. All of the competitors would have been arriving in the next few days I imagine, with very few arriving as late as I was due to (on Friday evening). All flights in the air were diverted to Argentina right I understand. Those yet to fly are probably cancelled until further notice. Some competitors are stuck in Brazil I've read this evening. I guess everyone will just have to wait for a clearer picture in a day or two.

So everyone's travel this week will either be diverted or potentially cancelled; this would include any race staff yet to arrive I imagine. Travel options could be severly restricted if it goes ahead, especially if Santiago airport stays closed all week. I've looked at options as varied as flying into Salta, via Buenos Airies and getting the 9-12 hour bus ride to San Pedro as a fallack option. Though the news also reports a seperate 6.3mag quake struck Salta yesterday, killing people there, so I'd have to check the bus services were running anyway.

Regardless of what happens with the event, let's hope the loss of life is minimal. Chile gets a lot of earthquakes and so has better prepared infrastructure than Haiti had. The buildings are stronger in Chile so I hope the destruction caused is less considerable than the terrible disaster in Haiti. Let's also hope the tsunami warning system means that all residents of potentially affected areas of the Pacific move to higher ground.

I hope all the competitors are safe. More news when I hear anything. My thoughts are with the people of Chile right now.

Sent from my iPhone

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