European Union Sends Help to Fight Chile Forest Fires

EU support has been mobilised to support Chile following numerous wildfires in the past week that have caused multiple casualties and damages, in central and southern areas of the country. The assistance comes as the Government of Chile issued an appeal for international help, activating the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism.

Any country in the world can call on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for help. Since its launch in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has monitored over 300 disasters and has received more than 200 requests for assistance. Chile requested forest fire fighting teams, equipment and expertise.

"The EU stands in full solidarity with the people and authorities of Chile as forest fires affect many parts of the country. Through our EU Civil Protection Mechanism, we have dispatched teams of firefighters and experts, at Chile's request, to help during these difficult times. Our thoughts are with all the people affected in the country and the national first responders. Let me thank all Member States who have offered their valuable support." said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

In response to the request for EU help, France, Portugal and Spain offered forest fighting teams and support, consisting of 65, 55 and 60 firefighters respectively. In addition, an EU Civil Protection team of eight experts in total from Spain, France, Sweden and Finland, as well as liaison officers from the Emergency Response Coordination Centre have been deployed to the country.

As of 30th January, the National Office of Emergencies of the Interior Ministry (ONEMI), reports 124 fires, 55 being under control, 58 are active and 11 have been extinguished.

The forest fires have caused at least 11 deaths and untold destruction: 1047 homes have been destroyed, leaving 3084 people homeless. A further 1099 people have been evacuated.

Publication date 30/01/2017