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Saturday April 20, 2024

Chile mourns 122 killed in wildfire inferno, searches for missing

Volunteers streamed to the worst-hit areas to help families, rescue pets, and deliver food, water, and tents

By AFP
February 06, 2024
Members of the Chilean Navy helped with the cleaning of burnt houses in Villa Independencia, Valparaiso region, Chile on February 5, 2024. — AFP
Members of the Chilean Navy helped with the cleaning of burnt houses in Villa Independencia, Valparaiso region, Chile on February 5, 2024. — AFP

VINA DEL MAR, Chile: Chile began two days of national mourning on Monday for at least 122 victims of a raging wildfire, as the search continued for the missing and survivors picked through the scorched remains of their lives.

“All of Chile weeps for Valparaiso,” President Gabriel Boric said Sunday as the central coastal region reeled from the weekend inferno that has become the world´s third-deadliest wildfire this century.

Crowded hilltop neighborhoods that overlook the tourist hotspot found themselves without electricity and with limited water, the streets strewn with charred cars, debris and ash.

“The most important parts of my house were 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,” said Patricia Guzman, 63, in the otherwise razed Canal Chacao neighbourhood.

Volunteers streamed to the worst-hit areas to help families, rescue pets, and deliver food, water, and tents.