Direct Relief’s Emergency Response team is preparing a shipment for its partner Fundación FEDES in Chile to help people affected by a forest fire that spread through the port city of Valparaíso. The fire has killed 15 people, destroyed at least 2,000 homes, and forced thousands to evacuate.
Fundación FEDES (Fundación Educativa de Desarrollo Economico y Social), is a Chilean nongovernmental organization that helps disadvantaged people in communities throughout the country.
Direct Relief is sending requested medical supplies, including: first aid materials such as wound dressings from Covidien, orthopedic supplies (such as crutches, canes, and walkers), personal care supplies donated by J&J Consumer and The Soap Guy, masks, nutritional products from Abbott, and other medical aid.
In an email update, a FEDES staffer wrote, “Nearly everyone affected told us that they prefer to suffer through an earthquake because these fires have taken everything from them except their memories.”
She said the majority of people residing in Valparaíso live in the hills with poor access for fire and emergency vehicles and low water pressure, which created a challenge for emergency responders to contain the fire and to aid individuals.
When the fire broke out on Saturday more than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate. Since then, many have been able to return to their homes, but hundreds are still in shelters.
*Post last updated April 15, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. PST