An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale struck Chile on the evening of Saturday 27 February, causing an unconfirmed number of deaths and widespread damage, the cost of which is much more than just financial.
“I wish to express my deepest sorrow at the tragedy caused by the terrible earthquake that hit the people of Concepcion, and at the number of victims and the suffering it has caused the Chilean people,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter in a letter on behalf of the football family to the President of Chile Michelle Bachelet.
Described by scientists as the second worst in the country’s history, the earthquake had its epicentre close to the city of Concepcion. Its effects were felt as far north as the city of La Serena and as far south as Puerto Montt, an area stretching for some 1,600 kilometres and including the Chilean capital Santiago.
Blatter asked Bachelet to pass on “our most sincere condolences to the Chilean people and to the families of the victims in particular,” before adding: “I would like you to know that our thoughts are with you at this very painful time.”
As a result of the tragedy, the Chilean Football Association (AFNP) has postponed the two 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ warm-up matches that the national side was scheduled to play in Santiago on Wednesday 3 March.