Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chaiten, Chile April 23, 2009

A short video compilation showing the extent of the destruction caused by the lahar that came through the town one year ago at the time of the initial Chaiten Volcano eruption.

The background noise which gets a little loud at times depending on which way the camera was pointed is the wind - it was a windy, rainy fall day, and we were not using professional-quality equipment.

And while it's difficult to see in the clip, the last image of the sign on the blue building reads, "I [heart] Chaiten."


Steve Smith

Karen - I want to thank you for documenting the town of Chaiten so well. I lived there for several months back in the early 90's as a Mormon missionary and grew to know the town very well. I hiked "La Carretera" and the mountain areas and experienced the fury of the wind coming off the ocean.

Its very sad to see the destruction there. It was a very beautiful town. But there are some equally beautiful areas in the region and hopefully the people are able to rebuild their lives.

Karen Dionne

Thanks for your comment, Steve. I'm glad you found my blog, and that I could share my video footage with you. It must be very poignant for you to see the destruction of a place you once lived.

Visiting the volcano was an INCREDIBLE experience (and I realize now I haven't officially reported on the experience - blog post to come!), but the ruination of the town was very sobering. Particularly sad are the homes and buildings that are undamaged, but stand empty. While I was there, I often thought of the ruination caused to New Orleans by hurricane Katrina, and how so many people's lives were similarly and irrevocably changed. I'm hoping that in a very small way, my novel will shine a spotlight on Chaiten, and what her inhabitants have had to endure.

P.S. - if you have any photos from when you were in Chaiten, I'd love to see them! karendionne@bksp.org

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