The Great Fire of Valparaíso
The Disaster: At 4:40 pm on April 12th a fire started in the outskirts of Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, quickly spreading through the sprawling neighborhood housing many of the poorest residents of the city. As fire firefighters struggled to gain access to the effected campamentos (informal settlements), they were hindered by a complete lack of open streets, inaccurate maps, and a decrepit fire fighting system (the water system is over 100 years old). Fed by strong coastal winds, a prolonged drought, and unseasonably high temperatures, the fire burned for five days leaving entire neighborhoods destroyed with 3,000 homes gone.
State of the Recovery: Thousands are still without homes as government response has been focused on building long-term housing solutions in the fire zones instead of the ramshackle collections populating the area before. Latest government estimates are for work to be completed by 2021.
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