The fire that broke out in Chile as a result of last week’s heatwave continues. The country’s president announces that there may be even more victims.
Residents of Chile have been struggling with the serious effects of heat in the southern hemisphere for several days. The longest country in Latin America is currently facing devastation reminiscent of last year’s tragedy in Greece. An excessively hot summer brought rapidly spreading fires that have already taken the lives of over 100 people.
Fires in Chile caused by heat
Last week, thermometers in the capital Santiago reached up to 40 degrees Celsius. The resulting fire began to move rapidly, starting from the coastal tourist region of Valparaiso, and soon consumed thousands of green hectares. According to CNN, firefighters have already contained 102 fires, but are still fighting 40 others. A state of emergency was also introduced in the country – in many cities, the smoke was thick and caused breathing problems among residents. Not only forests were burned, but also citizens’ houses and vehicles. “In a televised statement on Saturday, President Boric said that the Ministry of Defense will deploy more military units in the affected areas, with all necessary resources made available,” it read. Scientists blame the increasing fires on climate change and the El Nino phenomenon, which leads to extreme temperatures.
At least 112 people are dead
Although other South American countries (including Argentina and Colombia) have also been fighting fires in recent days, it is Chile that is currently facing the greatest natural disaster. According to the report of the Chilean National Disaster Prevention Service, 112 people have died as a result of fires in this country (including 32 victims who have been identified), and this number is still growing. Chilean President Gabriel Boric fears that the number of people who have lost their lives is not yet final. Monday, February 5 and Tuesday, February 6 were declared days of national mourning.