While the fires raging through Chile may be under control in some areas and have been almost put out in one region, the disaster continues.
In a statement released today, leading berry company Naturipe Farms – which has Chilean-based company Hortifrut as one of its partners – has called for more support.
Here is the statement in full:
“Chile is burning, they need our help. Strong winds, hot temperatures and a prolonged drought have led to some of the most disastrous wildfires in Chilean history – destroying over 385,000 acres (160,000 hectares) of forest, covering 70 districts of Chile.
More than 100 wildfires have broken out in the past few weeks and have spread rapidly across vegetation that has been dried by unseasonably high temperatures. More than half of these fires are still listed as uncontrolled and continue to damage farms, livestock, vineyards, homes, buildings and even an entire town.
Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche has declared this a farming emergency; crops and vineyards have been destroyed. With Chile’s lucrative impact on the produce industry, an environmental catastrophe such as this will have a significant effect on farmers, growers, and possibly even service.
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile has declared a state of emergency, and called for international help to fight the unrelenting fires “never seen in the history of Chile”. Spain, Peru, Mexico and the U.S. are among the many countries sending international aid including heavy equipment and light aircraft to supply water and flame retardants from the skies.
A Boeing 747 “supertanker” arrived from the United States to help put out the fires in some areas. It had been paid for with a $2 million donation from the foundation of Lucy Ana Aviles, a Chilean who lives in Denver and is married to Benjamin Walton, a Walmart heir.
More help is needed – with the destruction of crops, farms and the livelihood of our extended growing family of growers all across various regions of Chile, it is pivotal that the produce industry as a whole stands together in sending aid and salvation. Naturipe Farms is asking that all who can, especially those that have connections to produce in Chile to help. Please send donations to Desafio Levantemos Chile (www.desafiolevantemoschile.cl).”