"I was looking at these images of places I've been and visited and thought this isn't happening," said Shana Malkis, a Spanish teacher from Niskayuna.
For at least a year, Chile was Shana's home. Her host family is still there, miles from the center of the quake.
"Panic started to set in when I started to play out certain scenarios...where were they? What was going on? My host sister is pregnant so I was worried about her," she said.
Phone lines were tied up, so she logged online. It was hours before she finally got word that they were ok. Tonight, the country she loves is devastated.
This earthquake, comes just weeks after Haiti's. Raising some concerns that there is not enough aid to go around. But the Red Cross says that it has been here before, looking back at China's Earthquake in 2008 and a Typhoon in the Pacific.
"They came one on top of the other and we learned an awful lot from having to provide multiple services in two distant areas at the same time," said E. Kristen Frederick, Director of Development and Communications for the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York.
On top of that, Red Cross teams are already on the ground in surrounding countries, ready to go. Chile is better prepared to handle earthquakes than Haiti, with quake resistance buildings and emergency plans in place. But it is still in need.
"I'm worried that because they are taking time to evaluate that people will think it's less serious then it is and perhaps not give," said Adam Kress, a SUNY Albany Doctorate student who has done research on one of the country's famous poets.
His friends there are fine, but their homes are destroyed. He is urging people to donate.
So is Shana, as she longs to help rebuild her second home.
"They know how to survive and I think they will survive this, but it's not going to be the same," she said.
The Red Cross says that local and international funds are kept separate, so the money you donate to the local chapter is not sent to Chile. Likewise, what you donate to the International Fund is not used locally. As of right now there is no sub-fund set up for Chile.
If you'd like to donate to Chile, the Red Cross says you can visit their website, or make checks payable to:
American Red Cross International Response Fund
and mail it to:
American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington DC 20013
American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, 33 Everett Road, Albany, New York 12205 and they will pass it along.