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112 dead as Chile’s deadliest ever forest fire rages on

Boom RadioNG | February 5, 2024

112 people have been killed as firefighters have been wrestling massive forest fires that broke out in central Chile about 3 days earlier.

The fires burned with the highest intensity around the city of Viña del Mar, where a famous botanical garden founded in 1931 was destroyed by the flames on Sunday rendering at least 1,600 people homeless.

 

artist impression of an aeriel shot of a forest fire closing in on a city

Several neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Viña del Mar were devoured by flames and smoke, trapping some people in their homes. Officials said 200 people were reported missing in Viña del Mar and the surrounding area. The city of 300,000 people is a popular beach resort and also hosts a well-known music festival during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.

On Sunday morning, the Chilean President Gabriel Boric visited the town of Quilpé, which was also heavily affected by the fires and reported that 64 people had been killed and as at late Sunday, Chile’s Forensic Medicine Service updated the confirmed death toll to 112 people.

 

artist impression of an aeriel shot of a forest fire closing in on a city

The president said the death toll could rise as rescue workers search through homes that have collapsed, as some of those arriving in hospitals were also in critical condition.

The fires around Viña del Mar began in mountainous forested areas that are hard to reach. But they have moved into densely populated neighborhoods on the city’s periphery despite efforts by Chilean authorities to slow down the flames.

The president has now declared two days of national mourning.

 

 

Dolupo Balogun

Written by Boom RadioNG

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