Local authorities have reported that at least 51 people have lost their lives due to wildfires in central Chile. The death toll is expected to rise as emergency teams struggle to contain the fires that threaten urban areas.
Black smoke has been billowing over large areas of the Valparaiso region, home to nearly a million people in central Chile. Firefighters are working tirelessly to extinguish the flames in the region, utilizing helicopters and fire trucks.
The authorities have identified the areas surrounding the coastal tourist city of Vina del Mar as the most affected. Rescue teams are facing challenges in reaching all the affected areas.
Interior Minister Carolina Toha stated that the death toll has increased after the discovery of five bodies on public roads. She added that the information suggests “we will reach much higher numbers” in the coming hours.
“The situation in Valparaiso is the most sensitive,” she said, noting that the country is facing its worst disaster since the earthquake in 2010, which claimed around 500 lives.
Over Friday and Saturday, the affected land area from the wildfires expanded to 43,000 hectares from 30,000.