Wildfires: EU deploys more than 250 emergency responders to Chile; current situation
Following a request for assistance from Chile, France, Portugal and Spain are deploying more than 250 fire fighters, coordination experts and medical personnel to the most affected areas via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in February 2023. Numerous wildfires are burning across central and southern Chile due to record high temperatures. The European civil protection response includes:
A team of 141 fire fighters, coordination experts and medical personnel from Portugal.
A team composed of 80 firefighters from France.
Two ground forest fire teams of 28 people total and a Forest Fire-Fighting Assessment and Advisory Team (FAST) of 10 experts from Spain.
A liaison officer from the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre's is deployed to Chile and an EU Civil Protection Team sent.
The European Emergency Response Centre has activated the EU's Aristotle reporting service and the Copernicus Emergency Satellite Mapping Service, producing 15 maps so far.
Earlier this year, the EU has already channelled €100 000 in emergency assistance to support the Chilean Red Cross working with people affected by the late December fires in the upper part of the Valparaíso Region, 120km from Santiago.
The EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in constant contact with the Chilean authorities to channel further assistance and the EU stands ready to provide further help as requested.
Background When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Once activated, the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinates and finances assistance made available by EU Member States and eight additional Participating States (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Türkiye) through spontaneous offers. Since its inception in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded to over 650 requests for assistance inside and outside the EU.
Situation overview The total number of forest fires has decreased. Out of 180 fires, there are still 11 fires of major relevance. A state of emergency is maintained in several areas in the regions of Biobío, Ñuble and Araucanía.
The number of people affected has increased to 7 009. The total number of people dead is 25, one more since the last report. There are 94 shelters available, 15 in eight municipalities, housing 120 people in vulnerable situation.
Most of the affected families are not in shelters. Many remain on their land, removing debris, beginning the rehabilitation of their homes and looking for ways to reactivate their livelihoods. In many cases, children and adolescents are in the care of friends and relatives, which can lead to situations of vulnerability.
Government deployment on the ground is done through COGRIDs, where all sectoral agencies are in charge of response and recovery.
Recovery measures continue with the provision of temporary shelters (housing). Livelihood recovery is essential for subsistence farmers, small producers and indigenous people.
The United Nations System has carried out specific emergency response actions and in close coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there is a working space with the Ministry of Social Development and Family, Ministry of the Interior and SENAPRED. Meetings have also been held with the international community to ensure timely and coordinated action in response to Chile's call for international assistance.
The deployment of the UNDAC team to the field has allowed for initial feedback on the areas where UN Chile can best complement the ongoing response, with a focus on communication and participation.
Source: The European Commission, UNOCHA, NOAA Satellites
FRI Media (Pty) Ltd is an independent publisher of technical magazines including the well-read and respected Fire and Rescue International, its weekly FRI Newsletter and the Disaster Management Journal. We also offer a complete marketing and publishing package, which include design, printing and corporate wear and gifts.