Wildfires have been raging in central and southern Chile, fanned by strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought. The Nation is facing the worst forest fires it has ever seen, with more than 1200 sq kilometres of land destroyed and thousands of people evacuated from their homes. The Chilean government has declared a state of emergency in several areas, as people try to save their homes, livestock and land. Over 1000 homes have been destroyed in the last 24 hours.
Global Care is already active over in Chile. South American Global Care Coordinator Ps Maickel Caroca is working in the affected areas, having himself been affected losing all the buildings and animals on his property except his house.
Global Care Australia has sent funds over to Chile to assist them in their response.
From the Washington Post:
As families evacuated their homes, fleeing the fires engulfing the Chilean town of Cauquenes this past weekend, Diego Morales stayed behind, watching the smoke envelop his 150-year-old vineyards.
Firefighters deployed in the town were so overwhelmed that vineyard owners, neighbours and family members were forced to douse the fires themselves. Morales and his family thrust buckets of water in all directions, suffering minor burns, but they couldn’t stop the powerful blaze.
Half of Morales’s vineyard — more than 60 acres of vines surrounded by forests — was consumed in the fire, Morales’s business partner, Carlos Gálvez, said in an interview with The Washington Post. Unless the vines recover next season, Gálvez said, the business, Bisogno Wines, will lose half its wine production.
“This is a low-income region, and many live off the vineyards,” he said. “There are some who have lost everything.”
Morales’s vineyard is one of more than 100 in the wine-producing region of Maule in Chile that have been damaged by the historic forest fires scorching this long sliver of a South American nation, reported Decanter magazine. The blazes began over a week ago and spread quickly with the summer’s drought and high temperatures, decimating more than 300,000 acres of forest across the country.
The government declared a state of emergency on Friday, and President Michelle Bachelet has asked Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Spain and France for assistance in providing planes and helicopters to tackle the fires. The U.S. is also sending a group of experts and funds to replace equipment at Chile’s national forestry agency.
“Chile is living the greatest forest disaster in our history,” Bachelet said, adding later that the country has “practically exhausted its capacity to fight the blazes,” the BBC reported.
The head of Chile’s forestry service has said the fires were caused by humans, but that it could not be determined whether they were set intentionally.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, and at least three people have died trying to tackle the fire. Families in the town of Pumanque in the south-central region of O’Higgins have lost most of their possessions and livelihood, with livestock suffering burns and struggling to survive off the blackened soil, the Associated Press reported. Chile’s Public Works Ministry said Monday that heavy machinery will be sent to the area to bury the hundreds of animals that died in the wave of fires.
Global Care is very active in South America and is working right now to help finance the relief effort in Chile.
Global Care is an Australian Aid and Humanitarian Organisation that has, over its 24-year history, had an impressive track record of getting into the trenches and helping people in need not only in Australia but throughout the island nations of the Pacific and further afield.
There are Six Strategic Operational Areas within the Global Care suite.
- Local Community Focussed Operations – There are currently 85 of these strategically placed around the nation. They aim to meet key needs within the community that they are located in.
- Domestic Disaster Response – In times of Natural Disasters, Global Care has significant capability to be a first and second stage responder: providing immediate emergency assistance and then being involved in the rebuilding and the healing process.
- International Disaster Response – particularly focused on the Island Nations of the South Pacific. But not limited to the South Pacific.
- International Humanitarian Operations. Building Birthing Suites in nations in Africa.
- Advocacy – giving a voice to the voiceless.
- National Others Week: Initiated by Global Care, this kindness focused week is all about changing the world one act of kindness at a time. Currently celebrated in 7 nations.
Primarily a volunteer organisation, Global Care has around 2000 active volunteers each week, helping around 10,000 people each day. The Organisation has full Gift Deductible Recipient (DGR) Status and is also a Public Benevolent Institution. Global Care is funded through donations from the public and a small corporate partnership base.
Global Care is the Social Justice arm of International Network of Churches (INC). To see the Global Care Website Click Here.
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Peter Pilt is the International Director of Global Care. His contact details are as follows:
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