Tohá calls for prevention as forcefully as she tackles fires


Interior Minister Carolina Tohá referred to nationally reported forest fires this morning, emol.com reported.

In this context, with regard to the mega-fire that occurred in Viña del Mar this week, he called for “putting the same energy into prevention” and “tackling emergencies”.

“This is the time to prevent this tragedy from happening again in other places. Here the appeal is addressed to all institutions, the private sector and civil society, to put the same energy into prevention that we put into dealing with emergencies. We were very encouraged and mobilized when the fire started, well, you have to be encouraged before it starts to prevent it from igniting,” said Onemi.

Along the same lines, observed the Undersecretary, “we are planning a series of actions by Onemi, Conaf and the Government, to develop what we announce is the mitigation plan”. Which, as he indicated, “will include measures in the same place of the fire and in the area, in the region, around this place. On the site, in addition to the clearing that will begin today, Conaf is planning a clean-up action throughout the ravine that has caught fire”, this as it specified that “there are new risks”.

Prevention plan

In this sense, he clarified that “we have a plan which consists in taking measures in the environment to activate firebreaks, to work with the community, to free places of risk”.

“When emergencies occur, we normally tend to relax with prevention, but when there is a tragedy like the one recently experienced in Viña, perhaps it is the moment when we can become aware of how important prevention is. If we had been clear , we probably shouldn’t regret the consequences we are suffering today,” he said.

According to what he said, “70 fires were fought between yesterday and today. Of these, 32 have already been shut down. “

However, he specified that “there are two fires on red alert at the moment, one of them includes two municipalities, so there are three alerts, but two fires. One is in the municipality of Chiguayante and the second includes the municipalities of San Pietro and St. Dominic”. Tohá clarified that the Viña del Mar incident is in a “controlled” situation and added “it left red alert”.

Although he stressed that “this does not mean that it is completely extinguished, there are still heat sources and care measures, but the fire is contained and does not represent a direct alarm for the population living in the environment”.

Valparaíso Authority

Meanwhile, the authorities of the Valparaíso region have provided a new update on the situation of the fire that has affected a large part of Viña del Mar, which is already “controlled”, noting that it is already moving to a second phase as soon as the emergency .

This was stated by the regional delegate Sofía González, specifying that “we are overcoming the first emergency phase, the fire is under control and we are in the process of rehabilitating the place”.

In this sense, he underlined, it is a matter of “levels of rehabilitation, with respect to fundamental issues such as water, bathrooms, light, with respect to the safety of the sectors”. Furthermore, he assured that “tomorrow the Minvu teams will line up and make a land registry” of the homes and families affected.

Another issue that worries residents of the affected area is the possible seizure of land, to which González urged those who notice this type of situation to alert the authorities through official channels.

The mayor of Viña del Mar, Macarena Ripamonti, took the same line, however she pointed out that so far they have not had any formal complaints about it.

However, the mayor said that, after the control of the fire, “today we have the priority of removing the maximum amount of rubble from the sector, mainly from Tranque Sur”. He also called on those who want to go to help voluntarily, not to go up to the affected sector and to coordinate with the municipality, as “there is such a level of disaster that we only have one way up and down”, so commuting is not ideal .

Finally, Ripamonti was asked again about the possibility of suspending the New Year’s celebrations in the “Garden City”, excluding any reference to it, noting that everything that has to do with the emergency response “is our north of concern” .

For his part, the head of the national defense for the state of catastrophe, René Rojas, said that “the fire is under control, not extinguished, because there are still hot spots in the ravines area”. Meanwhile, he said 201 people have received health care in the context of the emergency, of which only one remains hospitalized with 30% of his body burned, but with minor injuries.

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