Chile Wildfire Update: Death Toll 99, Boric Pledges Aid, State of Emergency Declared

Chile mourns as worst-ever wildfire rips through Valparaíso, killing 99. President Boric pledges support, hospitals overwhelmed. Death toll feared to rise, curfew imposed as flames rage on. Urgent calls to avoid affected areas.
Chile Wildfire Update: Death Toll 99, Boric Pledges Aid, State of Emergency Declared

In a tragic turn of events, at least 99 lives have been claimed by ferocious forest fires in Chile's Valparaíso region, marking the deadliest such incident in the country's history.

President Gabriel Boric swiftly declared a state of emergency, pledging to allocate "all necessary resources" to combat the unfolding crisis. The victims, many of whom were holidaymakers in the coastal region, faced the relentless blaze during the summer holidays.

The gravity of the situation prompted the health ministry to issue a health alert in Valparaíso, resulting in the suspension of elective surgeries and the authorization of temporary field hospitals. To bolster the strained healthcare system, medicine students in their final year of studies will be enlisted for assistance. Rescue efforts have been hindered, and Interior Minister Carolina Tohá anticipates the death toll to rise significantly in the hours to come.

Amid the chaos, the Chilean government issued a stern advisory, urging people to refrain from traveling to the fire-ravaged areas. Residents caught in the maelstrom described the experience as "hell," with one recounting how attempts to aid a neighbor were thwarted when his own house succumbed to the flames.

The housing ministry reported that between 3,000 and 6,000 houses bore the brunt of the fires. Responding to the escalating crisis, a curfew was imposed on Viña del Mar, Limache, Quilpué, and Villa Alemana. President Boric emphasized that the curfew aims to clear routes and facilitate the access of emergency vehicles to affected zones.

Chile Wildfire Update: Death Toll 99, Boric Pledges Aid, State of Emergency Declared
Who Series: Elon Musk - All you Need to Know

With the inferno showing no signs of abating, 1,400 firefighters were deployed on Sunday, accompanied by military personnel. Investigations into the cause of the fires are underway. In a bid to prevent further exacerbation, the government imposed a ban on handling fire and heat-producing machinery in Valparaíso and the neighboring Marga Marga region.

Situated 116 km from the capital Santiago, Valparaíso, a popular summer destination, faces a grave crisis as wildfires continue to wreak havoc. Last year, the regions of Biobío and Ñuble, further south, experienced deadly wildfires, suggesting a concerning trend of increasing frequency and severity.


No stories found.
Vikatan English