Church responds as forest fires burn in Chile

Hundreds of fires are burning in various parts of Chile, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reacting by providing donations, assistance, aid, and other support.

The South America South Area presidency released a statement that was originally published in Spanish on the Church’s Chile Newsroom. “There is sadness in our hearts when we think of those whose lives have been affected by the fires that have been taking place in different parts of Chile since December, when they hit Via del Mar,” the statement read.

The church leaders express their love, empathy and prayers for those affected and are mobilized as a Church to assist as we identify opportunities.”

The Church has already given aid to several local fire departments and is making tools available for communities to use for debris removal and looking at how to help restore water connections that have been damage. The statement said the Church hopes to continue coordinating with governments and other institutions to provide assistance.

Church responds as forest fires burn in Chile

So far this is the report:

  • 60 fires being fought.
  • 149 fires under control.
  • 432,541 hectares (1,680 square miles) lost.
  • 24 people killed.
  • 2,911 people injured.
  • 6,855 people affected.
  • 1,513 houses destroyed.

Two meetinghouses — one in the center of Viña del Mar and the other in Forestal — served as collection centers for donations for people affected by the fires. The donations included toiletries, bottled water, boxed milk, cereal bars and diapers. Church members also took donations to another collection center in La Cisterna.

Viña del Mar Chile Stake President Alan A. Campos said normally Christmas is focused on dinner and gifts and spending time with family.

“But for many that was not the focus this Christmas because they forgot about themselves and went looking for those in need,” he said. “They arrived at Christmas Eve dirty from removing rubble, from comforting those who need comfort, from mourning with those that mourn, from embracing and supporting our neighbors.”

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