The death toll from the severe forest fires in Chile has risen to at least 46. According to Chilean media reports, President Gabriel Boric announced this on Saturday evening (local time). Forty died in the fires, and six others later died in hospital from their serious injuries. Around 200 people are still missing. Given the circumstances, Boric continued, he expects the number of deaths to rise.
The forestry authority registered 143 fires across the country on Saturday, covering an area of around 21,000 hectares. According to media reports, almost 1,000 houses were damaged.
On Friday, the President had already declared a state of emergency in the affected areas due to the disaster in order to be able to mobilize all the necessary resources. He has now also instructed the Ministry of Defense to deploy more military units. “Our priority is to save lives,” said Boric.
In summer in the southern hemisphere, serious forest fires occur again and again in Chile. However, there is suspicion that at least some of the fires were started intentionally.