Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that they communicated with the Greek embassy in Chile, although the communication was very difficult after Saturday’s 8.8-magnitude earthquake that striked 200 miles south of Santiago. The severity of the damages have not been confirmed by the Chilean government. Latest reports indicate at least 214 deaths. The earthquake also caused tsunami waves accross the Pacific Ocean.
The Greek community in Chile is estimated to number around 100.000 people. Most reside either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area. Chile is one of the 5 countries with the most descendants of Greeks in the world.
The first Greek immigrants arrived during the sixteenth century from Crete, so named “Candia” in honor of the island’s capital, the current Heraklion. The majority of Greek immigrants arrived in Chile at the beginning of century, some as part of their spirit of adventure and escape from the rigors of the World War and the catastrophe of Smyrna in Asia Minor, although many Greeks had already settled in Antofagasta.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece has activated the Crisis Management Unit to collect contact information from Greek citizens seeking any family members or other people who are in Chile.
The contact number is 210-3681912.