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Valparaíso tragedy is of enormous dimensions, congressman says

Valparaíso, Chile, Feb 6 (Prensa Latina) After suffering the deadliest forest fires, the Chilean region of Valparaíso is focusing today on protecting the lives of people, identifying victims and collecting debris.

“This is a tragedy of enormous dimensions, above all because of the number of deaths, which is increasing, and the more than 3000 homes destroyed”, the Communist Party deputy for that region, Luis Cuello, told Prensa Latina.

The legislator spoke with this agency during a tour of the Achupallas neighborhood in Viña del Mar, one of the most affected by the disaster.

According to official figures released here, the fires in the Fifth Region have so far caused 123 deaths, although this number could rise because there are still people missing.

Today, fortunately, the fires are being contained and extinguished and, once this is solved, we have to work on the removal of the bodies, which still remain in many parts, and then begin the reconstruction work, the legislator said.

Another very important issue -he stated- is to reinforce security. A State of Catastrophe has been decreed and therefore it is the Armed Forces who must take control of public order and it is necessary to hasten the deployment of the Armed Forces.

In the affected areas, groups of volunteers are supporting the families in the collection of debris and assessing needs.

On the other hand, Chilean doctors, including graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), are visiting the neighborhoods to attend to the population.