Santiago, Chile – The status of Santiago’s main convention center was unknown Monday as rescue work continued in the wake of the deadly magnitude 8.8 earthquake that slammed the Chilean capital over the weekend.
Executives at Kallman Worldwide, Inc., told Trade Show Executive their staff in Santiago made it through the terrifying shaking unscathed. They had not, however, been able to make contact with either the management of Espacio Riesco, Santiago Convention & Exhibition Center Chile, or the Chilean Air Force.
The Air Force is the organizer of the FIDAE International Air & Space Fair,scheduled March 23-28 at a military air base adjacent to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport. Kallman is organizing the U.S. pavilion at the show. Kallman is also managing EXPOMIN 2010 April 12-16 at Espacio Riesco.
“We are actively working to gather all possible information regarding these two events,” said Joan Williams, energy and mining program manager at Kallman. “The situation is fluid and news is coming in from several directions.”
“We have had contact with our Santiago office and our colleagues and their families are safe,” Williams said. “We have not yet established contact with Fisa S.A., the organizer of EXPOMIN, nor with the venue, Espacio Riesco.”
There were no media reports of damage to Espacio Riesco, and the center itself could not be reached for comment. According to the center’s website, no trade shows or other events were on the calendar at the time of the quake.
Espacio Riesco reports 17,000 square metres (183,000 square feet) of indoor exhibit space and 28,000 square metres (301,389 square feet) of outdoor exhibit space. It also has 10,000 square metres (107,639 square feet) of meeting space.
The international airport in Santiago reportedly suffered structural damage and was shut down through Monday. Damage to the neighboring site of FIDAE was not revealed. It is also likely the Air Force’s attention and space at the venue could be diverted from the air show to relief work for the near future.
Tsunami Scare, But No Waves at Waikiki
The Hawaiian Islands were in the crosshairs of the tsunami that was generated by the quake, but the threat passed without any flooding to the Waikiki area, home to the Hawai’i Convention Center.
Authorities evacuated the tourist areas Saturday, causing the closure of stores and restaurants. There were no trade shows on the convention center calendar.
The coast of California was also on alert for a tsunami, although no tidal waves or surges of any significance occurred.
Reach Joan Williams at (201) 251-2600 x115, or email@example.com; Rodrigo Bastidas, manager of Kallman’s Latin America office, at +56 (2) 269 1453 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Espacio Riesco main office at+56 (2) 248 4775 or email@example.com