Less than two weeks after Chile’s northwest coastline was struck by an 8.2 magnitude earthquake, a deadly blaze spread through the city of Valparaiso this weekend, leaving 15 dead and over 500 injured.
Throughout Monday, Firefighters struggled to get Valaparaiso, Chile, blaze under control while residents begun their attempts to salvage any remnants of their homes, which were consumed by the intense fires. Many residents who made their way back to where they lived after the fires passed only found ashes, rubble and burnt vehicle remains where their homes used to be.
Over 11,000 people were displaced by the Chile blaze, which has consumed 2,500 homes and 1,145 acres of land, according to a statement by Chilean Minster of the Interior and Public Security, Rodrigo Peñailillo, on Tuesday. In addition to firefighters on the ground, 21 aircraft and six aircraft from Argentina have been deployed to assist with extinguishing the Valparaiso inferno.
Previously, President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, traveled to the burning city of Valparaiso on Sunday, after declaring a state of emergency for the area. With emergency personnel deployed throughout the region, Bachelet expressed her thoughts on the effect of the blaze:
“It's a tremendous tragedy, perhaps the worst fire in the history of Valparaiso, and we all know very well the impact this is having on the lives of many and, indeed, throughout the city.”
While firefighters continue to fight the blaze on Tuesday, the Chilean government has already begun planning rebuilding efforts and the distribution of food to displaced residents.
"The President cited the entire cabinet and the instructions are very clear, start the reconstruction process as soon as possible and that doesn’t only mean a new home, it means going much further. That is why we have deployed the Ministers of Health, Ministry of Public Works, Housing, Social Development and Ministry of the Government,” Peñailillo remarked.
The cause of the fire, which started on Saturday, is currently under investigation.