Chile

Chile: Fire - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Operation No. MDRCL010

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

A massive wildfire burned through Chile’s Valparaiso city. The fire started at around 16:00 on 12 April, in Camino la Pólvora--a section of one of the main highways near Valparaiso, close to El Molle dump. The fire destroyed a confirmed surface of 300 acres of pasture, scrubs and eucalyptus. The fire is located in an area of limited access and, as such, the chance of its being controlled is also very limited. At the moment, there is a high risk that the wildfire will spread to Mariposas hills, La Cruz hill and the surrounding areas. Therefore, the population in these areas is being evacuated.

This fire is considered one of the largest and most damaging events ever registered in Valparaiso. Another current concern is due to another fire which started recently in Fundo Las Cenizas, also in Valparaiso. This wildfire has burned through an area of approximately 1.5 hectares of pine and pine waste.

The latest reports from the national authorities state that over 800 houses were destroyed by fire and more than 12,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. Currently, 12 people have died, according to the reports of the mayor of Valparaiso city. The city is also experiencing massive power outages due to damage to the infrastructure.

The National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) estimates that more than 3,500 members of the National Forestry Corporation (Corporación Nacional Forestal - CONAF), the Fire Department, the Police Investigations Department (Policía de Investigaciones - PDI), along with the army and naval forces, are working to control the emergency. In addition, airborne resources and water trucks are operating in the municipalities of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Villa Alemana and Esval.

ONEMI has also sent trucks with mattresses, blankets, water, masks, tents and food rations to the affected areas. At the moment, it is reported that four shelters are active in four different schools:

  • Grecia School: Pedro Montt Street, 2357.

  • Alemania School: Argentina Avenue, 455

  • Gaspar Cabrales School: Almirante Simpson, 152

  • San Bosco Church: Argentina Avenue, 081

It must be noted that the city is built on a series of steep hills, which hinders access. The communities on the hills also experience difficulties due to the lack of water pressure in the sewage system. Many of hills affected have poor or sometimes non-existent sewage systems, which worsens the situation.