In response to the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that struck Chile early Saturday, Direct Relief International has offered assistance to Chilean authorities, emergency relief organizations, and U.S.-based partners working in Chile.

In the immediate aftermath of an emergency, search and rescue operations and damage assessments are essential priorities to save lives and organize appropriate response efforts.

As search and rescue operations and initial damage assessments are performed by Chilean authorities, Direct Relief will continue to communicate with Chilean organizations and with other international organizations with operations in Chile. Direct Relief is preparing to respond based on long experience to earthquakes, including the ongoing effort in Haiti, but will coordinate with local officials and organizations to ensure any response is properly targeted.

— Jim Prosser is a spokesman for Direct Relief International.