Massive forest fires have ravaged large swaths of Northern and Central Chile. More than 100 people are confirmed dead and hundreds more are missing. Meanwhile, Southern Baptist partners in Chile are providing food and ready to provide further assistance as needed.
Officials in Chile are investigating the cause of the fire, the Associated Press reported. The fires reportedly spread fast due to dry weather, strong winds and low humidity.
Baptists stand ready to help
Coy Webb, crisis response director for Southern Baptist’s Send Relief, stated, “[We have] been in contact with our partners in Chile. Until the fires are put out, we are limited in response.”
He added, “Our partners are providing food to evacuees, and we have offered to partner if additional resources are needed. We are discussing a possible shelter project for those who have lost homes, and we have a DART assessment team on standby for response to assess affected areas as soon as fires are out. We will continue to monitor and be in communication with partners.”
Firefighters have struggled to contain more than 160 blazes, CNN reported. Thousands of homes have reportedly been destroyed and whole neighborhoods turned to ash. Some people have returned to what’s left of their homes looking for anything that survived the flames.
Fast-moving and devastating
One local impacted by the fire, Priscila Rivero, told AP that it took about 15 minutes for the flames to travel from a nearby hill to her house. She quickly got her children to safety as the fire approached. She tried to return to salvage a few possessions but her home was already engulfed in flames.
Chile’s President Gabriel Boric said that furniture used in the 2023 Pan American Games will be donated to victims, ABC News reported, and water bills for affected homes will be forgiven. He declared two days of national mourning.