Khrushchev, the Red Menance, and the U-2 flight notwithstanding, the big story is Chile – where the forces of nature have impressively put man in his minuscule place.
For a time, at least, we Americans, personally and individually, may well concentrate on a type of foreign aid that has no bearing on political advantage, national defense, or any man’s personal ambitions.
What has happened to Chile has probably never happened to any country in all of recorded history. In recent weeks, as reported by Chilean ambassador Walter Muller to an American Red Cross meeting in Washington, this enlightened, industrious and proud nation that stretches it string-bean length far more than 2,600 miles along the western edge of South America, from Peru to a point south of Tierra del Fuego, has been battered by 30-foot tidal waves, suffering no less than four earthquake shocks equivalent to the 1906 trembler that wrecked San Francisco. Between these shocks have come lesser tremors and volcanic eruptions that have spewed rivers of flaming, molten rock into the valleys below and caused landslides that wiped out all in their paths.
Days ago, as the U.S. Army was loading and flying in those 34 giant Globemasters with complete equipment to replace destroyed hospitals and combat typhoid by water purification, we were told that 50,000 square miles of that nation had been devastated, that property damage had exceeded $300 million. Even when we learned the known dead were well over 5,000, that two million were homeless, we couldn’t grasp the scope of this disaster.
But ambassador Muller has put the picture in shockingly clear focus by telling us that the situation in his country of seven million people is what we would be facing if some cataclysm – or a series of them – had snuffed out more than 250,000 lives and rendered 50 million homeless in this country!
Obviously, in all conscious, and as God-fearing people, there is one thing to do. We must help – quickly and generously. Write a check to the American Red Cross or give them the folding money in your pocket, but now! Take it to the nearest Red Cross chapter today. Every cent of it, we have been assured, will go to the aid of the Chileans. And give them your overcoat, too. Winter is setting in down there right now – and you won’t need it for a long time.
Maybe we will have a mild winter this year, but it’s going to be a rugged one in Chile.