AMERICA/CHILE - Archbishop of Santiago on forest fires: “It is a disaster”

Tuesday, 6 February 2024

Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - The number of people who died in the devastating fire in the coastal area of Valparaíso last Friday, February 2, continues to rise: "The situation is really tragic, it is a catastrophe", said the Archbishop of Santiago, Fernando Chomalì Garib, to Fides. "The death toll so far is 150, and there are many injured and missing. The people affected have lost almost everything, many houses, entire buildings and several schools have been destroyed" . "In Viña del Mar, a parish church and a chapel were completely destroyed. The same, unfortunately, in Quilpué and Villa Alemana," said the Bishop of the Diocese of Valparaíso, Jorge Vega Velasco (svd) last Sunday, February 3rd. Work to contain and extinguish the flames is still ongoing as strong winds have reignited the flames. On Sunday, February 4, a total of 165 fires were registered, 40 of which are still not under control. The cities of Viña del Mar, Quilpué and Villa Alemana, with more than 326,000, more than 127,000 and more than 144,000 inhabitants respectively, have been particularly affected so far. The National Civil Protection (Senapred) reported that 26,000 hectares of vegetation and several residential complexes went up in flames. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 6/2/2024)