March 4. 2024. 8:11

The Daily

Read the World Today

Chile wildfires: At least 23 dead as state of emergency extended

Dozens of wildfires blazing though Chile have killed 23 people so far and caused the government to extend an emergency order to another region on Saturday.

More than 1,100 people have sought refuge in shelters while at least 979 people have been reported injured by the raging fires, according to an official briefing on Saturday.

The latest emergency order covers the southern region of Araucania, next to the previously declared Biobio and Nuble regions, located near the middle of the South American country’s long Pacific coastline.

“Weather conditions have made it very difficult to put out (the fires) that are spreading and the emergency is getting worse,” Interior Minister Carolina Toha told reporters at a news conference in the capital Santiago.

READ MORE

Iran’s artistic community divided over its reaction to protests


German climate activists swap court date for Bali holiday

German climate activists swap court date for Bali holiday

Charles de Gaulle’s youngest grandson lays wreath to commemorate Soviet victory

Charles de Gaulle’s youngest grandson lays wreath to commemorate Soviet victory

US and China: Fragile relationship blown off course by a balloon over Montana

US and China: Fragile relationship blown off course by a balloon over Montana

“We need to reverse that curve,” she added, noting that on Friday 76 more fires had ignited.

Another 16 fires sparked to life on Saturday, according to officials, as local temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere summer exceeded 40 degrees.

The sparsely populated three regions covered by the emergency orders are home to many farms, including where grapes, apples and berries are grown for export, plus extensive tracts of forest land.

Officials told reporters on Saturday that the governments of Spain, the United States, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela have offered help, including planes and firefighters.

On Friday, an emergency-support helicopter in La Araucania crashed, killing its pilot and a mechanic, according to officials.

Authorities reported that 11 of the victims, or nearly half of the casualties reported so far, died in the town of Santa Juana in Biobio, located some 500km (310 miles) south of Santiago.

Since late last week, helicopters have dropped fire retardant over fires as billowing clouds of smoke obstruct roadways. Firefighters and local residents alike are struggling to contain the flames.

The latest government orders allow for the deployment of soldiers and additional resources to deal with the natural disaster.

Some 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) have been burnt by the fires, according to official data released late on Friday

The country’s national forestry agency reported on Saturday that 80 of 231 total wildfires are being actively battled, while 151 of them are under control.

Officials said that over 90 per cent of the wildfires have been smothered before they spread beyond five hectares. – Reuters