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Air, technical and financial support: international help arrives to control the fires in Chile


Brigade members and Spanish, Argentine and Mexican soldiers join the efforts to control the flames that have left at least 26 dead in the South American country

The director of the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf) of Chile, Cristian Little, welcomes the head of the mission of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) of the Spanish Army, Lieutenant Colonel Javier Martín Traverso, in Santiago (Chile).Javier Martín (EFE)

Late on Sunday, a contingent from the Spanish Military Emergency Unit (UME) landed in Santiago de Chile to help put out the wave of forest fires that has plagued the country since last week and has left at least 26 dead. .

The 50 Spanish troops were the first aid to arrive by air from abroad after President Gabriel Boric made a call for cooperation to the international community.

Mexican and Argentine brigade members have also arrived to assist in the cessation of the 51 sources of fire that are being fought in the center-south zone of the country.

The Chilean government is managing the aid offered by Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, Peru and Venezuela.

The Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Carolina Tohá, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Miguel Ahumada, and the Spanish Ambassador to Chile, Rafael Garranzo, led the delegation that received the UME made up of six experts in the Fight against Forest Fires ( LCIF), 38 soldiers from the Emergency Intervention Battalion (BIEM I) and a drone team with six pilots.

“Without a doubt his experience and capacity will be of great support to the work in the area.

But it is not only reinforced from the technical point of view, it is also an injection of encouragement, solidarity, which we are very grateful for,” Tohá said.

For his part, Ambassador Garranzo stressed that "there really has been a very urgent response to a very urgent situation" from the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez.

This morning, 30 brigade members and 120 members of the Mexican army and air force, experts in firefighting, arrived.

Boric thanked the "dear" president Andrés Manuel López Obrador for sending the aid through Twitter.

"International cooperation and Latin American support present!" Wrote the president.

Argentina has sent 64 brigade members, 15 4x4 trucks with equipment, a forest fire truck and a Boeing Chinook helicopter, for cargo transport, with a capacity of 10,000 liters.

The United States ambassador to Chile, Bernadette Meehan, announced on social networks a donation of equipment and resources to fight the fires and help the victims.

"There will be more to come," she wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

The Chilean government spokeswoman, Camila Vallejo, explained this Sunday that the US will provide financial support of $50,000.

Boric, who has been monitoring the situation in the most affected areas, traveled briefly to Santiago on Saturday, where he held talks with the presidents of Colombia, Gustavo Petro;

from Bolivia, Luis Arce;

from Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso;

from Argentina, Alberto Fernandez;

from Spain, Pedro Sánchez;

and with the American ambassador, Bernadette M. Meehan.

"They have all made themselves available," he said.

Petro promised on Twitter to send a plane with material and experts to put out forest fires.

"The climate crisis is burning Chile," wrote the Colombian president.

Minister Vallejo assured at the press point on Sunday that Ecuador will send forestry brigade members, like Brazil, which will also make a plane available.

Venezuela, for its part, offered 60 firefighters, three technical specialists in operations and machinery, and Peru the support of helicopters.

At the national level, 260 fires are active, of which 51 are in combat, 140 are controlled and the rest are under observation.

The high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity have made the work of the thousands of Chilean brigade members and firefighters deployed in the affected territories more complex.

The flames of the deadliest wave of forest fires in the last decade have devastated 274,000 hectares and 1,559 homes.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-02-06

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