Chile (MNN) — Chile is in the midst of yet another devastating disaster. April began with a magnitude 8.2 earthquake in the country’s northern region. Over the weekend, another community was torn apart: a massive fire began sweeping through Valparaiso, destroying around 2,500 homes and killing 15 people.
Operation Mobilization teams are on-the-ground today, distributing emergency items and assessing needs. Pray that Christ’s love will be made evident through tangible care as the OM team helps survivors.
The inferno began on Saturday evening, reportedly stemming from a forest fire on the outskirts of Valparaiso. Strong winds from 42 steep hills surrounding the city quickly whipped the flames into frenzy, destroying slum neighborhoods–with homes made of little more than wooden huts–in an instant.
By the time winds calmed and cooler temperatures moved into the area on Tuesday, at least 11,000 of Valparaiso’s 250,000 residents were homeless. More than 500 had been treated at nearby hospitals, mostly for smoke inhalation.
Some former OM missionaries have seen their homes damaged by the fire, but all were safe and accounted for at last report. As the OM Chile team formulates a long-term strategy to help with rescue and recovery efforts, ask the Lord to give them wisdom and discernment.
Operation Mobilization began working in Chile through the OM Ships ministry. The Doulos and Logos began visiting Chile ports in the 1980s, and OM Chile formally began, following the Logos sinking; the ship hit rocks in the Beagle Channel, between Argentina and Chile.
Based in Santiago, a city 70 miles east of Valparaiso, OM Chile primarily serves in three areas: training, evangelism, and mobilization. Learn more here.
According to a report from BusinessWeek.com, Chile’s forestry agency predicts it could take up to three weeks to completely stop the Valparaiso fire. Please pray for wisdom for government leaders as they decide the best ways to protect citizens. This is the second massive disaster President Michelle Batchelet has faced since beginning her second term in office on April 1.