Wildfires and urban fires destroy whole neighbourhoods in Chile
Wildfires have been raging in Chile since the beginning of this year. To date, over 29,000 hectares have burnt, 15,000 dwellings have been destroyed, and over 40,000 people affected, with 122 dead and over 200 still unaccounted for.
A heat wave added to several years of water shortages and summers with record-high temperatures, all providing favourable conditions for the spread of the fire. Forest fires in the central regions of the country have decimated hectares of woodland, and have extended to urban areas, specially impacting the city of Viña del Mar (Valparaíso) – a primary tourist destination in the country.
On the night of Friday 2 February, the President of the Republic of Chile decreed a State of Emergency. It is the worst catastrophe to affect the country since the earthquake of 2010.
How a private sector network is mobilizing in response to the fires
Desafio Levantemos Chile has been on the ground since Saturday 3 February, identifying the most affected areas and registering affected families. As part of a first phase, they are distributing aid covering primary needs including hygiene and debris removal kits, water, and food.
The team is also gathering information about health, education, and business infrastructure that has been affected or destroyed. This data will inform the second phase, recovery and reconstruction.