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  • Human Rights Research Center

Chile's Deadly Wildfire Exposes Water Crisis

March 18, 2024


Destroyed streets and communities in Chile. [Image Credit: Screenshot from Miguel Soffia's video | The New York Times]

Cited article by The New York Times


HRRC calls to raise awareness of the challenges communities face in Chile during and after the country's deadliest wildfire. The systemic failures and vulnerabilities that exacerbated the impact of the wildfire, emphasized the need for accountability, improved infrastructure, and proactive measures to address the growing threat of wildfires in Chile and globally.


News Brief


Weeks following Chile's deadliest wildfire, which claimed 134 lives and decimated thousands of homes, reports indicate that insufficient water supply to fire hydrants significantly hindered firefighting efforts. The disaster, a result of extreme climate conditions and mismanagement, underscores the vulnerability of cities to wildfires amidst urban expansion and strained water grids.


While officials from Esval, the water provider for the region, deny any wrongdoing and assert that the system was at full capacity, testimonies from firefighters and residents highlight longstanding issues with water pressure and non-functional hydrants even before the blaze. As affected communities demand accountability and compensation, the catastrophe is a stark warning for cities globally facing increasing wildfire risks amid climate change. 

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