The devastating fires that engulf Chile caused at least 122 deaths, according to the latest official report.
The Legal Medical Service (SML) said that most of the victims are from the city of Viña del Mar and its surrounding areas, such as Quilpué and Villa Alemana.
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The wave of fires also affects the Valparaíso region and other areas in the south of the country.
The organization, in charge of announcing the balance of victims, said that only 32 bodies were identified and specified that 40 autopsies were carried out. The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, reiterated that the number will grow in what he considers “the worst tragedy” in the country after the 2010 earthquake, in which more than 500 people died.
What is happening in central Chile with the fires
The chain of fires began on Friday in the Lake Peñuelas national park, amid temperatures close to 40 degrees. It quickly spread to coastal towns due to the wind and heat.
Preliminary investigations suggest that the origin would be four outbreaks and that the indications suggest that they were not only provoked, but planned. So far there have been no arrests.
The fires caused enormous devastation in central Chile (Photo: Reuters)
In addition to the deceased, there are hundreds of victims and almost 15,000 homes damaged, according to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Manuel Monsalve. The largest number of victims is concentrated in Viña del Mar.
Lots of heat, no light and little water
Without electricity, little water and a lot of heat, residents of Quilpué and Villa Independencia, in the populated hills of the Valparaíso region, about 120 kilometers northwest of Santiago, suffer from a lack of basic services to be able to recover among streets covered with debris, cars charred and ashes.
“The most important thing in my house was saved, but now we are without electricity, we can't do anything or charge our cell phones. Traffic is complicated with burned cars, everything is devastated,” she told Patricia Guzmán, 63, from the Canal Chacao sector, devastated by flames, where the block where she lives was left standing, AFP reported.
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The mobilization on the routes of the affected areas worsens as volunteers arrive, people who want to help families, assist pets, deliver food, water, tents, etc. Firefighters and official teams are also working to search for victims in burned sites.
In the middle of the southern summer, this area of beaches visited by tourists has a large part of its hotels without employees because they were affected by the catastrophe.
The teams are working today to extinguish 40 fires, with some outbreaks that caused preventive evacuations on Sunday afternoon in Til Til, 60 km north of Santiago, and in Galvarino, 400 km south of the capital, near an extensive region that also experienced large-scale fires in February of last year.
In the Valparaíso region, known for its tourist beaches and wine production, 17 fire brigades, 1,300 soldiers and civilian volunteers are deployed to help fight the flames, but also the victims who lost everything.