At least 112 people have been killed by raging forest fires in Chile, officials said Sunday.
The increase in the death toll came after President Gabriel Boric said Sunday afternoon that the death toll had risen to 64 and was likely to rise. Chile’s forensic doctor said Sunday evening that 112 people had been brought to the Valparaíso forensic unit.
At a press conference on Saturday, Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said there were 92 active fires that affected more than 43,000 hectares. On Sunday, Tohá added that more than 1,350 households had already been affected.
Boric declared two days of national mourning for victims of the wildfires – both those who lost loved ones and those who lost their possessions.
In a virtual speech, Boric acknowledged the loss of life and homes and promised Chileans that the government was actively working to provide resources.
“I know 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 grief impossible to measure, but rest assured that our government is deployed with all human, technical and budgetary resources.
The fires have triggered evacuations in several regions of central Chile.
In February 2023, fires in the country ravaged more than 400,000 hectares and killed more than 22 people.
Although this year’s fires have not spread as widely, Tohá said they are “multiplying rapidly” and spreading closer to urban areas, so the potential to affect more people and structures is ” very high “.
The fires broke out as Chile faces a Heat wave this also affected other Latin American countries.