Information for Visitors/Residents in Chile
Welcome to the Emergency Preparedness website of the United States Embassy in Santiago, Chile. The Consular Section of the Embassy has developed this site to provide the American community in Chile with useful, accurate information about preparing to confront earthquakes and other disasters.
Chile is an earthquake-prone country. It sits on the so-called Pacific “Rim of Fire”, the massive expanse of territory from Indonesia, to Japan, to Hawaii, to the Pacific coasts of North and South America, which is characterized by pronounced seismic activity. The most severe earthquake on record, measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale, occurred in south-central Chile in 1960, and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and widespread property damage; smaller, but still significant earthquakes, occur with regularity.
Earthquakes are the most common, but not the only natural disaster that visitors and residents of Chile might encounter. For example, undersea seismic activity periodically results in tsunamis, massive tidal waves that can wipe out everything within miles of the ocean. The 1960 earthquake, for example, was accompanied by a devastating tsunami. Many of Chile’s seaside cities and towns have extensive tsunami warning and evacuation systems. Chile has more active volcanoes than any country in the world and Andean snow melts and torrential rains periodically trigger floods.
Below you will find a series of links that provide background on natural disaster threats in Chile and information to help you and your family prepare to deal with these threats. The links are drawn from a variety of sources: American and Chilean, academic and official. You might want to start by reading Emergency Assistance to Citizens Abroad, to learn how the Embassy might help you in the event of an emergency. You can start immediately to improve your emergency preparedness by registering with the Embassy.
Whether a visitor to or a resident of Chile, we hope that you find the information on this site useful to you. We would be happy to hear any comments you may have about the site or suggestions you may have about how to improve it, at the American Citizens Unit e-mail.
- 1960 Earthquake in Chile - A description by the U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S) of the largest earthquake on record. See a map locating the epicenter of the earthquake.
- U.S.G.S. Earthquake Hazards Program – Information on worldwide earthquake activity, earthquake science, and earthquake hazard reduction.
- Tsunami! – A site hosted by the University of Washington Department of Earth and Space Sciences.
- Seismological Service, Geophysics Department, University of Chile – comprehensive site with Chile-specific earthquake information
- Department of State Consular Information Sheet on Chile – basic information about Chile; includes security and hazard-related information.
- U.S. Embassy Administrative Notice to Personnel on Earthquake Preparedness (PDF 141 KB) – a document provided to all U.S. Embassy employees
- Basic Integral Security Guide for Visitors and Foreign Residents in Chile – (PDF 171 KB) ONEMI’s basic document, in English, describing hazards in Chile and measures taken by the Chilean government to address them. Essential reading.
- Are you ready? – FEMA’s in-depth guide to emergency preparedness. Adressess manmade (terrorism, chemical/biological warfare) as well as natural threats. Includes information about making a disaster kit, with food, water and other essential supplies.