At least 64 people have died in the fire, which will “significantly rise”.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric said on Sunday that this is the biggest disaster we have seen since the 2010 earthquake.



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A fire destroys vehicles and buildings in Viña del Mar, Chile, February 3, 2024.  (Esteban Felix/AP/CEPA)

Chile is facing its worst disaster in ten years. According to a report communicated by President Gabriel Boric on Sunday February 4, at least 64 people have died in a fire in the Valparaiso region in the center of the country. “This number will increase, we know it will increase significantly”Quilpue, located on the outskirts of the seaside resort of Viña del Mar, expressed regret to the head of state.

In Quilpue, about 90 km northwest of Santiago, an AFP team found entire neighborhoods and cars burned. Thousands of residents were trapped for several hours on Friday as they tried to escape by car. “This is the worst disaster we have seen since the 2010 earthquake”Regarding the 8.8 magnitude earthquake followed by the tsunami on February 27, 2010, Gabriel Boric declared. More than 500 people were killed.

Thousands of houses collapsed

After a lull, fires have reignited in the Valparaiso region. Since Friday, firefighters have been tirelessly battling dozens of homes in the regions of Valparaiso and O’Higgins in the center, but also in Maule, Biobio, La Araucania and Los Lagos in the south. About thirty of the total 92 fires reported broke out and firefighters used helicopters and planes to try to contain them. AFP reporters noted that violent winds fanned the flames and plumes of black smoke covered the streets, where the explosions took place one after the other.

According to a Home Ministry official, in addition to human losses, 3,000 to 6,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by the fire. The flames destroyed about 43,000 hectares of forest. As of Wednesday, temperatures in central Chile and the capital Santiago have hovered near 40 degrees Celsius. This heatwave, which results from the El Nino climate phenomenon, is currently affecting the southern cone of Latin America, causing wildfires to be worsened by global warming.

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