OAN’s Abril Elfi 1:56 PM – Saturday, February 3, 2024
A state of emergency has been declared in Chile as forest fires are spreading through the nation, killing at least 19 people so far and leaving thousands homeless.
Around 1,100 homes have been destroyed and at least 19 people have died as a result of intense forest fires encircling a heavily populated area of central Chile, according to officials on Saturday.
Interior Minister Carolina Tohá stated that, as a result of this week’s abnormally high temperatures, 92 forest fires are presently raging in Chile’s south and center.
She reported that since Friday, at least 19,770 acres had burned due to two fires that were close to the towns of Quilpué and Villa Alemana.
A fire was posing a threat to Viña del Mar, a coastal resort town that has already experienced significant damage to certain neighborhoods.
Many blocks of residences and businesses in the hillside neighborhood of Villa Independencia on the eastern edge of town were totally destroyed. The streets were littered with burned-out cars with shattered windows.
Rolando Fernández, one of the residents who lost his home, spoke with the press, saying he has been left with nothing.
“I’ve been here for 32 years and never imagined this would happen,” Fernández said. “I’ve worked my whole life, and now I’m left with nothing.”
To put out the fires, Tohá said that three shelters had been set up in the Valparaíso region and that over 450 firefighters and 19 helicopters had been sent to the area.
She also stated that rescue teams were still having trouble getting to the neighborhoods that had been hit the hardest. Neighborhoods on the outskirts of Viña del Mar have been affected by the fires that are burning in difficult-to-reach mountains.
Blackouts have been reported by officials as a consequence of the fire. According to Tohá, three senior living facilities and four hospitals in the Valparaíso area had to be evacuated, and the fire also destroyed two bus terminals.