The Chilean authorities have raised this Sunday to 64 the number of fatalities from the fires affecting the Valparaíso region, of which 32 have been identified, while the number of missing persons exceeds 370.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, has published this new update during his visit to the Fernando Durán Villarreal School in Quilpué, in the region of Valparaíso, reports the Radio Bio Bio station.
Boric has also taken the opportunity to announce that he is declaring two days of national mourning for the victims of the fires. The president has indicated that there are 1,300 homes affected, so measures are being taken to accommodate displaced families.
He has also announced that the presidential palace of Cerro Castillo, in Viña del Mar, will open for activities for boys, girls and adolescents. victims of this tragedywith teachers and monitors.
The president has explained that he will evaluate the damage to infrastructure and public works accompanied by the minister. On the other hand, he also noted that an evaluation of the damage to public works will be carried out with the Minister of Public Works, Jessica López.
About the origin of the fires, Boric has highlighted that there will be an investigation and has classified those behind these fires as “miserable” and has warned that they will be persecuted.
Previously Boric has explained that the priorities are first of all to save lives; second, put out active fires; thirdly, recover bodies of deceased people; fourth, channel urgent support to victims in shelters; fifth, guarantee the public order with Carabineros and Armed Forces, and sixth and last, collect background information to investigate the origin of the fires. “We will stand up,” Boric stressed in a message published on the social network X.
The governor of Valparaíso, Rodrigo Mundaca, has also referred to the origin of the fire and has highlighted that “there is obviously intentionality here and, therefore, all authorities are going to exercise maximum rigor.” “All possible prerogatives will be used to find those responsible, because the fires have turned into homicides,” he warned.
“We are going to pursue them, and we are going to search and we are going to imprison them because human lives have been lost and material goods that are tremendously important have been lost,” he stressed.
372 missing persons reported
Meanwhile, Macarena Ripamontil, mayor of Viña del Mar, one of the communes most affected by the fires, has indicated that 372 reports of missing people have been received.
“There are many people who died. There are many people who lost everything and it is dramatic. At this moment there are no political colors. There are no personal agendas. There simply has to be genuine affection for this to turn out well from all sides and make ourselves available to work for this emergency. I ask you please. There is a lot of pain in Viña del Mar right now,” he declared.
For her part, the Minister of the Interior of Chile, Carolina Tohá, has pointed out that it is already “the fire that has caused the most human lossesand it will probably be the emergency situation, after the 2010 earthquake, that has generated the most victims in Chile in recent times.”
Tohá has also highlighted that “the capabilities of the Legal Medical Service have been reinforced in these hours, but that will have to be increased tomorrow, because there will probably be more demand for work.” “The PDI is going to support this with the installation of 11 investigative teams, which are in charge of removing the bodies and the first investigative procedures carried out in these places,” he said.
He has also pointed out that at the moment they do not have a complete survey of victims or damaged homes or infrastructure, but “roughly, we know that there are 16 affected villas, 30 percent of them are Serviu condominiums, 70 percent “The rest are subdivisions – many of them irregular – and camps. In terms of housing, we don’t have numbers but we know there are thousands.”
There are “Serbian antecedents” of intentionality
As other authorities are pointing out, Tohá has stated that “there is serious evidence that the origin of the most serious of these fires, which is that of Las Tablas, could have been intentional. There are always rumors of this type, but in this opportunity are serious backgrounds of trustworthy people.
“This is a cause for great concern, because a fire that causes this devastation and this loss of human life, intentionally caused by other people, is a social alarm of the greatest severity,” he warned.
For this reason, it has been reported that the National Defense Headquarters has ordered a ban on the transportation of fuel in drums: “We have indication – as I said – of intentionality in several of these fires, and we want to make any other attempt to activate new outbreaks as difficult as possible.
“Secondly, any activity that involves handling fire is restricted, whether it is the use of machinery that generates heat or sparks, or the development of bonfires in risk areas or where the fire is currently occurring,” he added.