Chile – February 4, 2024
Chile has declared a state of emergency as wildfires sweep across the country, claiming the lives of at least 51 people. The infernos, fueled by a summer heatwave, have prompted evacuations in central regions, with coastal cities engulfed in smoke. President Gabriel Boric warns the death toll may rise, with military units deployed to affected areas and a red alert in place.
Approximately 92 active fires are ravaging Chile, affecting 43,000 hectares of land. Emergency crews have managed to control 40 fires but continue to battle 29 others. The port city of Valparaíso faces a critical situation, with around 372 residents missing, 6,800 hectares consumed by flames, and 1,100 homes damaged. Authorities express concerns about the high potential for the fires to impact urban areas.
Scientists attribute the intensified wildfires to climate change and the El Niño weather phenomenon. As the nation grapples with this crisis, one person has been detained in connection with the fires. The urgency to address climate change is underscored, emphasizing the need for global action to prevent further devastation in vulnerable regions worldwide.