On the night of February 2, the President of the Republic of Chile decreed a State of Emergency as forest fires approached the provinces of Valparaiso and Marga Marga (Valparaiso region).
Since January 29, a heat wave spread across six regions of the country generated favorable conditions for the development of forest fires in the central regions of the country. Particularly concerning are the fires in the Valparaíso region, which have encroached upon urban areas. These fires are happening amidst the backdrop of several years of water deficiency and summers with record-high temperatures, exacerbating the risk and extent of the blazes.
Gabriel Boric, President of Chile, stated that this is “the worst catastrophe to hit the country since the earthquake of 27 February 2010”, a disaster in which over 500 people lost their lives.
As of 5 February, the death toll stands at 122, with 200 individuals still missing. The wildfires have affected over 40,000 people, including 31,000 in Viña del Mar and 7,000 in Quilpué City. The fires have burned over 29,000 hectares of land, with 21,000 hectares affected in Viña del Mar alone.
Viña del Mar, one of the areas most impacted by the fires, is an urban area as well as a highly touristic destination in Chile. As a result, the impact on the local economy and livelihoods is a crucial factor for the recovery of the region.
Authorities are actively working to control and prevent the spread of fires, removing debris and providing support to affected people and communities, among other priority activities.
As a business or an individual, you can reach out to Desafío Levantemos Chile to become a part of the reconstruction efforts.
Mobilization of the Private Sector and Citizenship
Desafío Levantemos Chile is a non-profit organization in Chile and a partner of the OCHA/UNDP Connecting Business initiative (CBi). It supports communities impacted by disasters with sustainable solutions and empowering civil society. During emergencies, their staff is among the first on the ground to support communities, understanding the needs and working with them to build back better.
Since 3 February, Desafio Levantemos Chile deployed staff on the ground to support the communities affected by the wildfires by:
- Delivering first-aid kits, hygiene kits, debris removal kits, water and food to families
- Identifying the most affected areas and registering families
- Collecting key information for early recovery on health infrastructure, education, and affected entrepreneurs and businesses.
Based on the information collected in the early phase of the emergency, Desafío will develop a recovery and reconstruction strategy to support Valparaiso.