The biggest tragedy in the country since 2010 112 dead as a result of fires in Chile The biggest tragedy in the country since 2010 112 dead as a result of fires in Chile

The biggest tragedy in the country since 2010 112 dead as a result of fires in Chile

The biggest tragedy in the country since 2010  112 dead as a result of fires in Chile

Huge fires have swept through central Chile, described as the biggest tragedy since the 2010 earthquake, claiming the lives of 112 people, a number likely to increase, according to the country's president, Gabriel Buric, as firefighters struggle to control the situation.

At least 112 people were killed in the fires that swept through the Valparaiso region in central Chile, in the "largest tragedy" the country has known in the last decade, according to what President Gabriel Buric announced on Sunday, suggesting a significant increase in the toll.

The fires destroyed entire residential areas and turned forests extending over an area of ​​tens of thousands of hectares into ashes, while firefighters continued, for the third day in a row, to fight dozens of fires in the center and south of the country.

"I can unfortunately confirm that 112 people have died. This number will rise, and we know that it will increase dramatically," the Chilean president said from the city of Quilpuet, located on the outskirts of the coastal resort of Pena del Mar.

In Quilboye, 90 kilometers northwest of Santiago, cars and entire neighborhoods were charred, and thousands of residents were trapped on Friday for several hours as they tried to escape in their cars.

“It is the biggest tragedy we have witnessed since the 2010 earthquake,” Buric added, referring to the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that was followed by a tsunami on February 27, 2010, which killed more than 500 people.

As of Sunday, firefighters are struggling tirelessly to extinguish 43 fires and were able to control 34, according to the National Disaster Prevention and Response Authority.

“Within a minute, we lost everything,” said retiree Luis Biel (69 years old), crying in front of the ruins of his house in the Villa Independencia neighborhood on the hills of Balparaiso, where 19 victims were found.

Favorable weather conditions and active fire

For her part, Chilean Interior Minister Carolina Toha said that the weather conditions in the past few hours appear to be more favorable, pointing to a phenomenon that characterizes the Pacific coasts, which generates many clouds and high humidity and thus a drop in temperatures.

She added that "current conditions are more conducive to treating victims and controlling fires," stressing that the Las Tablas fire, which is the largest in the Balparaiso region, is still active and "extends over an area of ​​80 kilometers."

17 fire brigades and 1,300 soldiers and civilian volunteers were deployed to fight the fires and help needy residents throughout the region, which is rich in winemaking, agriculture and forests, and is witnessing an influx of tourists during this period due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Drought damage

From Rome, Pope Francis, after praying the Angelus, called on Sunday to pray “for the dead and wounded in the devastating fires in Chile.”

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy coordinator Josep Borrell announced on the “X” website (formerly Twitter) that the bloc is “ready to provide assistance in these difficult times,” noting that these “destructive fires remind us of the damage caused by drought and climate.”

Since Wednesday, the average temperature has approached 40 degrees in central Chile and the capital, Santiago.

The fires are due to a summer heat wave and drought affecting the southern part of South America due to the El Nino weather phenomenon, amid warnings from scientists that global warming increases the risk of natural disasters such as extreme heat and fires.

While Chile and Colombia face rising temperatures, a heat wave threatens to sweep through Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil in the coming days.

Interior Ministry Undersecretary Manuel Monsalve said in a press conference that "the coroner received 112 dead and 32 bodies were identified," revealing that there were still "40 active fires."

The mayor of the resort of Vina del Mar, Macarena Ripamonte, and the governor of the Valparaiso region, Rodrigo Mundaka, said that hundreds of people were missing.

The fire swept through entire residential areas and turned forests extending over an area of ​​tens of thousands of hectares into ashes.

For the third day in a row, firefighters continue to fight dozens of fires in the center and south of the country.

The authorities imposed a curfew at night, to facilitate the supply of fuel to emergency teams, which is a “priority,” according to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior.

While Chile and Colombia face rising temperatures, a heat wave threatens to sweep through Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil in the coming days.


Foreign Policy: Biden’s decision to suspend liquefied gas export contracts is a gift to Putin

US President Joe Biden's decision to suspend new liquefied natural gas export contracts has alarmed Washington's allies in Europe and Asia and angered Republican lawmakers in the US Congress.
Foreign Policy magazine said that businessmen in Europe and Asia "are protesting the suspension, saying that it may jeopardize their ability to find alternative sources of energy," noting that it is clear that countries that depend almost entirely on energy imports are the most concerned about the decision. Biden.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee described this move by Biden as a “gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

“Biden’s suspension of LNG exports weakens global energy security and undermines our efforts to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy,” the members of Congress said.

Earlier, the US President ordered the suspension of approval procedures for new contracts for liquefied natural gas exports from the country.

According to media reports, this step may delay investment decisions regarding the construction of new liquefied natural gas production facilities.

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