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Death toll in Chile forest fires rises to 131

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Death toll in Chile forest fires rises to 131

Santiago, Feb 7 (IANS) The death toll from the forest fires affecting the region of Valparaiso in central Chile has risen to 131, the country’s Legal Medical Service (SML) has reported.

The agency said in a statement on Tuesday that 35 of the deceased have been identified, while medical and technical teams have performed 82 autopsies, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the statement, eight deceased individuals have been handed over to their families.

“The SML reiterates its condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy and maintains its commitment to continue acting as quickly as possible to provide a rapid response to those affected,” the agency said.

The wildfires, which started last Friday at different points for reasons that are still under investigation, have burned over 9,700 hectares in various locations in the Valparaiso region.

Between 3,100 and 6,100 homes had some sort of damage amid a heat wave sweeping the South American country this austral summer.

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In response to the emergency, a state of emergency for catastrophe has been declared to deploy extra resources and allow military intervention. A health alert has also been issued in the region, along with curfews.

–IANS

int/sha

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