Photo: [djdroga’s photostream]
So now we know the amount of humanitarian aid China pledged to earthquake-stricken Chile: $1 million. Incidentally, this is the same amount it donated in the aftermath of January’s Haitian earthquake. And as it turns out, Chile’s President initially told the world that the country didn’t need aid, a statement she retracted just hours later, after it had been made known that more than 2,000,000 Chileans had been affected and 500,000 homes destroyed.
Hopefully, like with Haiti, more aid will soon come. After all, China is actually poised to profit from the quake. Shortly after the Earth’s axis finished shifting, Chinese copper futures were up across the board, with Jiangxi up 6.4% here in Shanghai and 6.5% in Hong Kong.
While demand for copper domestically had been flat over the past few months, Chile had been the world’s top producer. Whether there will be any profound or, more importantly, long-term effect on its output is another question in general, but it seems that the post-disaster panic has worked in China’s favor.
The quake, which measured as the seventh strongest since recording began, was more than 500 times more powerful than the one which struck Haiti. In some ways, the affects were much less severe: Santiago, the capital of the “well-prepared” nation, for example,has since fully restored subway service.
Still, more than half of the country’s regions have been officially designated as “Catastrophe Zones,” and curfews have been put in place to combat looting and pillaging in urban areas. Recently, major Chilean supermarkets reached an agreement with the government to offer complimentary foodstuffs to those affected and displaced, but opportunity is opportunity – and many Chileans are taking the opportunity to play while the parents are away, as it were.
China – and the rest of the world – was lucky enough to escape being battered by overhyped tsunamis that basically never happened: they peaked at just 7.7 feet at Talhucuano, Chile. By comparison, storm surge from Europe’s bizarre recent visitor Xynthia exceeded 25 feet, and actually destroyed the Napoleonic-era seawall surrounding seaside town L’Aiguillon sur Mer.
While the havoc wreaked by this quake – like China’s aid sent to the end of helping its victims – shouldn’t be underestimated, Chileans are lucky, more than anything, that their nation’s infrastructure was so appropriately-prepared, especially as compared to the nonexistence of Haiti’s. For the moment, we just feel lucky that Shanghai isn’t on a fault line – and that, according to China Daily Chilean fruit and wine imports are unaffected.