L.A. women blogging from Chile *

aneya-and-lauren.jpgLauren Williams and Aneya Fernando moved from Los Angeles to Santiago last month and have been blogging about their adventures. They were awakened, like everybody else, by the earthquake on Saturday morning. For about five hours they were trapped in their apartment by a stuck door, then went out to start observing and taking pictures. (Williams was an intern at the L.A. Times, I'm told by an e-mailer.) From their blog, it appears their part of Santiago escaped the kind of destruction seen closer to the epicenter. Williams:

I can't help but feel that writing anything about the minimal inconveniences we experienced yesterday is extremely narcissistic and trite. Although we were touched by the yesterday's catastrophe, it was in the slightest and most insignificant ways.

No, we still don't have gas and can't cook, we're short on food, and we were trapped inside our apartment the majority of the day yesterday, but we have our lives, our friends, and we had the option of sleeping in our own beds last night, which many people living in Chile can't say. I say that we had the option because neither of us slept more than a few hours, and stayed up until about 4 a.m. constantly refreshing the different news and social networking sites and for the latest news.

Keep up with them at Chillin' in Chile. Williams has been getting credits in the LAT's reports from Chile too. She also has posted at The Beat of Young Los Angeles, a group blog by writers who "all met in downtown Los Angeles while working as editorial assistants at the Los Angeles Times. Young, thirsty female journalists, we are on various paths of life, all wanting to write."

LAT presence: The Times' lead reporter on the Chile coverage, Chris Kraul, has been reporting from Bogota, Colombia, based on the paper's credit lines. Kraul left the staff in 2009 when the paper closed its last South America bureau and is credited now as a special correspondent. It doesn't look as if any staff reporters or photographers have gotten in yet. Kraul is the reporter who lost the sight in one eye as a result of the Baghdad bomb blast on New Year's Eve in 2003 that also injured Times reporters Tracy Wilkinson and Ann Simmons.

* 8 p.m. update: Patrick J. McDonnell, a Metro reporter for the Times who used to be based in South America, reached Santiago this afternoon and has bylines now on the paper's website. The death toll has climbed over 700.

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