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Josep Borrell | More than 250 rescuers from the European Union arrive in Chile after the wave of fires | Gabriel Boric | fires | WORLD

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More than 250 firefighters, coordination experts and medical personnel from France, Portugal and Spain deployed in recent days south of Chiliaffected by a wave of fires considered the deadliest in recent decades in the country, through the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union (EU).

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“European solidarity knows no borders. We stand with Chile at this time of great need and are proud to support the response efforts."said the high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, in a statement issued by the EU Delegation in Chile this Friday.

Borrell thanked the first responders for “put EU solidarity into practice” and reiterated that Chile can count on European support "in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change, a global challenge."

According to the statement, Europe's response includes a team of 141 firefighters, coordination experts and medical personnel from Portugal; a team made up of 80 firefighters from France; and two ground teams of 28 people in total, and a forest fire-fighting assessment and assessment team (FAST) of 10 experts from Spain.

In addition, a liaison officer from the EU Emergency Response Coordination Center is deployed in Chile and a Civil Protection team is planned to be sent in the coming days.

“The response to this overwhelming disaster, mobilized by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, once again demonstrates its added value in international efforts to save lives, while representing the best of European solidarity in action both within the EU as in the whole world”Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said in the statement.

The commissioner "praised" France, Portugal and Spain "for not forgetting what is happening in other parts of the world" at a time when the European continent is facing emergencies such as the earthquake in Turkey and Syria or the war in Ukraine.

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Earlier this year, the EU channeled 100,000 euros in emergency aid to support the Chilean Red Cross working with people affected by other fires that hit the Valparaíso Region, some 120 kilometers north of Santiago, in late December.

"The EU Emergency Response Coordination Center is in constant contact with the Chilean authorities to channel further assistance and the EU stands ready to provide further assistance, if required," concludes the statement.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is activated when a country requests assistance due to an emergency whose magnitude exceeds its response capabilities.

Once activated, the EU Emergency Response Coordination Center coordinates and finances the assistance provided by EU Member States through spontaneous offers. Since its creation in 2001, this mechanism has responded to more than 650 requests for aid inside and outside the EU.

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In addition to brigade members from the European Union, Chile has received support from its Latin American neighbors, including Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

According to data released this Friday by the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, among the brigade members who are already in Chile and those who will arrive in the coming days there will be more than 700 fire fighters in international emergency teams.

“We have had a lot of support at the international level, a lot of solidarity, and it only remains to reiterate our gratitude for it”said the minister.

The latest balance of the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (Senapred), issued late this Friday afternoon, 328 fires are burning in the country, of which 179 are controlled and another 101 are in combat. The death toll remains at 24.

The forest fires in the south-central zone of the country have already consumed almost 400,000 hectares, 1,250 homes have been destroyed and 5,419 victims have already been counted.

More than 6 years of experience in Digital Journalism. I write on political and tech topics. Follow for regular updates of country, foreign and tech news.

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