UNDP helps rebuild fire-hit Valparaiso

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Santiago , Chile – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Chile Antonio Molpeceres and the mayor of the city of Valparaiso Jorge Castro signed a an agreement on April 23 to boost disaster risk reduction and revamp the city’s development plan, following a deadly fire that killed at least 15 people, left more than 2,900 homeless and forced mass evacuations.

The agreement, which authorities had discussed prior to the recent fire, brings in local planning, training and public-private partnerships to reduce future disaster risks in Chile’s port city, famous for its colourful hillside houses. Following the fire, the UN and local authorities agreed to accelerate the efforts, strengthening disaster risk reduction measures in the city’s territorial planning.

"The idea of our programme is to boost risk management skills in at-risk municipalities, so Valparaíso, due to its geographical vulnerability, is a crucial place to work, as it needs to quickly incorporate risk management in its development plans," Antonio Molpeceres said.

" Following the recent events, today's agreement is even more urgent and relevant so the UN will work with the governments at the national and local levels, also sharing successful experiences from other countries and cities, "added Molpeceres, who visited one of the most fire-affected hills and a shelter housing around 360 homeless people.

The mayor of Valparaiso said he was eager to actively mitigate future risks, working with different governmental units and civil society.

The Plan is based on comprehensive social participation and will immediately map the city’s most vulnerable areas, train municipal teams to lead the risk mitigation process and define the key projects for the city’s urgent recovery.

In the immediate fire aftermath, the United Nations in Chile convened a meeting of the International Humanitarian Network to coordinate immediate assistance. The network offered the Government of Chile technical, human and financial resources to deal with the devastating fire in Valparaiso.