Santiago, Feb 6 (IANS) Raging forest fires in Chile’s central Valparaiso region have claimed at least 122 lives, the Chilean government said on Monday.
According to the South American country’s forensic agency, the Legal Medical Service, only 32 of the fatalities have been identified, while teams of experts have performed 40 autopsies.
The wildfires on Friday have burned more than 11,000 hectares in Valparaiso, and between 3,000 and 6,000 homes have suffered some degree of damage, Xinhua news agency reported.
The causes of the fires are still being investigated amid a heat wave hitting Chile this summer in the southern hemisphere.
Authorities declared a state of emergency to deploy military troops to help control the fires and channel additional resources into the region.
This is the worst tragedy to hit Chile since a powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami claimed 525 lives and left 23 missing in 2010, according to official figures.