There is high risk to your safety in Chile and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel due to earthquake and tsunami damage.
An 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile on 27 February 2010. Strong aftershocks are continuing including one of 6.1 magnitude on 3 March. Aftershocks are expected to continue for some time.
The 27 February quake was centred near the city of Concepcion, 317 kilometres south-west of the capital, Santiago. Travel within Chile is difficult in parts due to earthquake damage to roads and other major infrastructure – particularly south of Santiago. Communications throughout Chile are intermittent.
The Chilean government has designated the regions of Maule and Biobio as “States of Catastrophe.” Curfews are in place in some affected areas and travellers should check local media for details. In Concepcion, the military has been deployed to maintain law and order.
Santiago International Airport has now re-opened in a limited capacity with national and international flights starting to resume services. Travellers should check with their airline or travel agent what arrangements may be in place for their scheduled flights. Roads to Mendoza, Argentina and north from Santiago are open.
Some buildings in Santiago have sustained earthquake damage and electricity and water supplies are sporadic in some areas.
New Zealanders currently in Chile are advised to follow any advice and instructions issued by the local authorities and monitor local media for further information. We also recommend making direct contact with family and friends in New Zealand to allay any concerns as soon as this is possible.
To date there are no reports of any New Zealand casualties. New Zealanders with concerns for family members in Chile are advised to try and make direct contact in the first instance. Those with ongoing concerns may call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the following number:
04 439 8000 (if calling from within New Zealand)
+64 4 439 8000 (if calling from outside New Zealand)
There are landmine fields in Chile’s northern border with Peru and Bolivia and on the southern border with Argentina in Patagonia. Travellers should follow clearly identified roads, observe all warning signs and seek advice from local authorities before travelling to these areas.
The Chaiten volcano, located in the Los Lagos region and the Llaima Volcano in the Araucania region have both erupted in 2009 following earlier eruptions last year. Local authorities remain on alert as further eruptions can not be ruled out. There are national parks in both regions and New Zealanders visiting these areas should monitor local media reports for developments and follow any restrictions and instructions issued by the local authorities.
Small scale bomb attacks and bomb-threats occur from time to time in Santiago, including on 3 November 2009 at the Marriott Hotel. These incidents are generally associated with anarchist groups. New Zealanders are advised to take any bomb threats seriously and closely adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities for their own safety.
Protests and demonstrations occur occasionally in Chile and have the potential to turn violent. We recommend you avoid such situations. Dates of national significance 11 September (anniversary of military coup), 29 March (anniversary of the Young Combatant) and 1 May (Workers’ Day) may be a focus for protesters.
New Zealanders travelling or resident in Chile should have comprehensive travel or medical insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.