Disaster response Chile

Maule Earthquake

Published on Feb 27, 2010 01:00 AM  -  Updated on Jul 09, 2019 03:14 PM
An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the Maule region of Chile. As the country called for international assistance, TSF coordinated with the Chilean authorities to provide telecommunication assistance to the local and international community and populations.

Context: Earthquake
Start date: 27/02/2010
End date: 12/03/2010
Areas of intervention: Maule region

  • Telecoms assessments
  • Humanitarian calling operations
  • Capacity building

262 minutes of calls
55 family beneficiaries
Governmental bodies supported


On 27th February 2010 at 3:34 local time, an earthquake of 8.8 magnitudes on the Richter scale occurred in central Chile. The coastal areas north of the epicentre sank nearly a meter, while southern areas rose. In the most heavily affected areas, buildings collapsed, electricity and telephone were cut. A tsunami warning was issued for several countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. In total, more than 700 people lost their lives or were missing and two million were affected.

Telecommunications networks were severely damaged, making assessments, interventions and relief coordination very difficult. Facing this humanitarian disaster, the President called for urgent international assistance and said that the re-establishment of telecommunications was a priority.


A few hours after the earthquake, TSF deployed a team from its America regional base. A second team, from the Asia base and the International Headquarters, arrived shortly after.

TSF immediately coordinated with the Chilean authorities to reduce the impact of the disaster on the populations. Meetings with the Ministry of Telecommunications, the National Office of Emergencies and Information (ONEMI), and the delegation of the European Commission enabled to collect information very quickly on the situation after the disaster.

In cooperation with local authorities and supported by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), TSF teams conducted telecom assessments and humanitarian calling operations until the end of the mission on 12th March.

Telecoms assessments

Assessments were conducted on all affected areas, and a diagnosis of the telecom situation before and after the earthquake was made and shared with the relevant NGOs.

Humanitarian calling operations

TSF set up calling operations to enable earthquake victims to communicate with their loved ones both at home and abroad.

However, it soon became clear that the needs of the population for calling operations were limited or non-existent.

National capacity building

Despite the request of the Chilean government for international assistance in terms of satellite telecommunications equipment, the government's telecommunications actual needs were low.

However, the assessments and a joint consultation with ONEMI, SUBTEL and the members of the European Commission (DE and ECHO), emphasized the need for a training of ONEMI staff in emergency telecommunications.

TSF, in agreement with DG ECHO, therefore refocused its emergency project and its results on the organisation of training course, with the aim of strengthening local capacities in the field of emergency telecommunications.

Read our mission factsheet: Post-emergency - National Capacity building.

With the support of