Local News

Calgary’s Chilean community helping wildfire victims

A video sent to a family in Calgary paints a grim picture of the devastation of historic wildfires in Chile.

Four exterior brick walls still standing along with an avocado tree. A woman walks through the ashen ruins of what used to be her home in the coastal hills of Chile.

Speaking in Spanish, the woman openly questions why she is videotaping the charred remains and says it’s to remember the house.

The grim video is the reality of what so many in the South American country are now facing after devastating wildfires ripped through villages. According to UN figures, 130 people are confirmed dead and hundreds more are missing.

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“Everything is gone. There is nothing standing. Everything is ashes,” said Mony Villalobos.

She waited two days to hear her cousin’s voice and is relieved everyone in her family is still alive. Villalobos said everyone knows someone who didn’t make it out.

“I can’t imagine burning, burning.

“They found senior people who had embraced together and died in the fire,” she said, dabbing her eyes. “I’m sorry, it’s emotional.”

Calgary’s Chilean community is planning two fundraisers to help the fire victims in the hardest hit areas. Events are planned for Feb. 18 and 25, from noon until 6 p.m., at the Chilean Cultural Centre. Cash donations are also being collected.

“It’s really painful to hear and to be here and not seeing,” said Manual Lillo, Villalobos’ father. “Somehow we managed the family to send some help, but it’s not enough for sure because it’s a total destruction.”

Dozens of autopsies are being done to identify the dead and bring some closure to the families of those missing.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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