On Monday, at least 400 undocumented migrants were left homeless in Chile due to a mass fire that affected Laguna Verde, a shantytown in Iquique City.
“We lament the belongings and housing loss,” the Tarapaca region presidential delegate Miguel Quezada stated and announced that he will enable at least two schools as shelters to evacuate the victims, among whom are children and elderly people.
“I will not rest until we assure that every affected person is left secured under proper conditions,” Quezada stressed, recalling that the fire is controlled, but the fire could reappear.
So far, the authorities have ruled out the presence of fatalities, serious injuries, and the possibility that the fire was intentional since they relate it to the conditions of extreme heat recorded during the day.
���� Images from the Atacama desert, which has become a dumpster for the global fast fashion industry. Over 100,000 tons of clothing, many of them new items with price tags that weren’t sold or used, have been dumped in the Atacama desert in Chile. pic.twitter.com/1IrRA2bw7t
— Peoples Dispatch (@peoplesdispatch)
January 5, 2022
As soon as the fire started, the Chilean National Office for Emergency (ONEMI) deployed fire brigades, all of which agreed that the overcrowded conditions of the houses, the settlement’s narrow passages, and the lack of a water network made it difficult to extinguish the flames.
Located nearby the Chilean border with Peru and Bolivia, the Laguna Verde camp is usually the first place in which undocumented migrants settle temporarily before they move to other cities or try to regularize their migration status.
“Rebuilding the homes of these people will be complex. While we achieve this goal, we will set up a social safety net, which guarantees that people who lost their belongings can at least regularize their migration status and receive food donations,” Quezada stated.