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Wildfires Bring Chaos to Chile

Brendan discusses the wildfires that have ravaged through Chile's population and nature.

February 2nd marked the day of the beginning of the blazing megafires in Chile. Due to drought and hellish temperatures combined with powerful gusts of wind, flames began to emerge and consume anything that it was faced with.  The fires destroyed more than 15,000 homes around the densely populated city of Viña del Mar. It is estimated that some 40,000 people have been affected by the wildfires. Many remain without power or water. First responders continue to have difficulty accessing some of the affected areas. Reports indicate that hundreds have been injured. Over 130 have been killed, and over 300 are missing.

The fires erupted as many were on summer vacation in Viña del Mar, a city of roughly 330,000,was completely devoured by the flames as well as the smaller neighboring cities of Quilpué, Limache, and Villa Alemana. In some hillside areas, many older residents were not able to escape. One of the residents of the area, Omar Castro, was interviewed by The New York Times, and had this to say, “It was more like a nuclear bomb, there was nothing left” President Gabriel Boric declared a state of emergency as coastal cities like Viña del Mar and Valparaiso choked in smoke. Residents living in central regions were also forced to evacuate their homes.The president spoke at a press conference being held after visiting affected areas, Boric raised fears that the death toll would “increase significantly.” In a televised statement on Saturday, Boric stated that the defense ministry would deploy more military units to affected areas, with all necessary resources made available.

In the span of just under 24 hours, 20 thousand acres had been completely wiped out. The area that was affected the most, Viña del Mar, where its famous 94-year-old botanical gardens were consumed by the hell on earth. The city is home to 300,000 people and hosts a popular music festival. The wildfires have left 1,600 people homeless in the densely-populated city, where entire neighborhoods were incinerated. Several hospitals and nursing homes were evacuated due to power outages caused by the fire. Rescue units have been deployed in as many possible locations as they can, however the flames continue to turn everything they touch into ashes. The fires are being dealt with as swiftly as possible and military units are doing the best they can to eliminate the threat and free the people from the fiery storm. 

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