Santiago, The Gulf Observer: Firefighters in central Chile grappled with massive forest fires that erupted two days ago, leading to an alarming loss of life and property. As authorities extended curfews in the most affected cities, the Associated Press (AP) reported that at least 112 people have lost their lives in the devastating blazes.
The fires, raging with unprecedented intensity, have particularly ravaged the city of Viña del Mar, where the renowned botanical garden, established in 1931, fell victim to the flames on Sunday. The destruction resulted in the displacement of at least 1,600 residents, as homes were engulfed by the advancing inferno.
Neighborhoods on the eastern periphery of Viña del Mar suffered extensive damage, with flames and smoke trapping residents in their homes. Officials reported that 200 people were unaccounted for in Viña del Mar and the surrounding areas, intensifying the urgency of search and rescue efforts.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric visited the heavily affected town of Quilpé on Sunday morning, where he reported a tragic toll of 64 lives lost. Later in the day, Chile’s Forensic Medicine Service updated the confirmed death toll to a devastating 112 people, underlining the severity of the situation.
The unfolding catastrophe has prompted a concerted response from emergency services and authorities to contain the fires and provide assistance to affected communities. The extension of curfews reflects the ongoing challenges in managing the crisis and ensuring the safety of residents in the face of the relentless wildfires.
As the nation mourns the loss of lives and cherished landmarks, the focus remains on coordinated efforts to control the fires, support affected communities, and undertake thorough search and rescue operations in the hope of finding those still missing amidst the devastation.