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Chile forest fires kill at least 64 as president says death toll likely to rise

Sun 04 Feb 2024 | 10:08 PM
 Forest fires
Forest fires
Basant Ahmed

At least 64 people have been killed by forest fires raging in Chile, President Gabriel Boric said Sunday afternoon, adding that the number of victims will likely rise, NBC News reported. 

In a press conference Saturday, Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said there are 92 active fires burning that have affected more than 43,000 hectares. On Sunday Tohá added that more than 1,350 homes have already been impacted.

Boric has issued an order for two days of national mourning for the forest fires victims — both those that have lost loved ones and those that have lost their property.

In a virtual address, Boric acknowledged the loss of life and homes and promised Chileans that the government was actively working to provide resources.

“I know that it is a very difficult time to lose the house that was built with so many years of sacrifice,” the president said. “Losing a family member, a loved one, is a heartbreak impossible to measure, but rest assured that our government is deployed with all the human, technical and budgetary resources.”

The fires triggered evacuations in several regions of central Chile.

In February 2023, fires in the country swept through more than 400,000 hectares and killed more than 22 people.