Chilean Embassy stages quake benefit

Chile's embassy in the Emirates will stage a private concert in the capital on March 17 to raise money for earthquake relief.

ABU DHABI // The Chilean Embassy has launched a campaign to raise funds for the victims of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the south of the country last week, killing more than 800 people and destroying thousands of homes. Marco Martinez, the Chilean consul, said help is still urgently required. Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless and scrambling for basic supplies. "The earth is still moving so people are afraid," Mr Martinez said, referring to aftershocks.

The south of Chile suffered the worst damage and many people are living in temporary housing as the weather grows worse. "The problem is that the winter is coming in Chile and in the south the winter is stronger," Mr Martinez noted. On March 17, the embassy will sponsor an invitation-only concert at the Emirates Palace featuring Chilean artists who live in the UAE to raise money for relief. The musician Ovidio De Ferrari will perform, along with the soprano Paula Ruiz.

"We have a community of 187 Chileans in the UAE and most have already sent donations. For this campaign, we're focusing on expats and locals," Mr Martinez said. Guests will be asked to donate what they can afford. The concert is one in a series of attempts by Chile to tap the power of artists to raise funds. A national telethon over the weekend, which collected donations in 400 locations across Chile, raised US$58 million (Dh213m) to help build temporary accommodations for those left homeless.

Mr De Ferrari, who is the conductor of the Dubai Chamber Orchestra, said classical music concert in Abu Dhabi would be sombre but spectacular, and the funds raised would be put to good use. "There are so many people in need of help and sheltering and who need support. It would be a disaster if we don't get help very quickly," said the musician, who has lived in Dubai for 16 years. "I would like to persuade all the people, not only the Chileans and Latin Americans, but everyone who can help us to contribute. That is the most important thing about this concert," he said.

The concert will feature a mix of jazz, classical and modern music performed by a local orchestra, Mr De Ferrari on his piano, and the vocal stylings of Ms Ruiz. The Embassy has also opened a special account at HSBC, number 011-223328-002, in which donations will be accepted for one month from today. Besides the concert, the Mexican restaurant My Way, on Hamdan Street, has agreed to donate all profits from a specially themed Chilean menu on Thursday.