Chilean Wildfires-Relief for 5 Families

Valparaiso, our parents' home city in Chile, has been hit by the worst wildfire in the country's history. Over 2,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 10,000 people have been evacuated. Valparaiso is made up of many residential cerros (hills) and Cerro Merced, where my parents grew up and extended family currently reside, was directly impacted. The firefighting effort was severely affected by heavy winds that prevented helicoptors from dropping water over the flames on the first day of the fires.

We were moved by the story of how my mom's cousin Jorge fought the fires himself to protect his home. The winds were over 60km/hr, blowing heat, flames, and burning ash quickly across the hills. The sight of the homes up the street burning one by one closer towards him brought a deep sense of hopelessness. Jorge tirelessly fought with neighbors to prevent adjacent homes from being engulfed by removing burning ash from roofs and putting out fires with a hose. The inevitable happened and he was forced to retire at the point at which the hose he was holding began to burn his hands and he could not bear the smoke/heat any longer. Authorities estimate the fires could take close to 3 weeks to put out completely and Jorge's family who had already evacuated to a cousin's residence in a nearby cerro had to evacuate once again as the fires loomed in that direction. They are currently taking refuge at our great grandmother's home in the neighboring town of Quilpue.

Within our family, we know of 5 households that have had their homes completely destroyed. Thankfully, everyone evacuated in time, however they were left with only the clothes on their backs. Our goal is to raise $10,000 dollars to provide the households with initial support to purchase clothes, food, school uniforms/supplies, etc. The need is far greater, however we know the immediate support would make an enormous difference as they face the next months of uncertainty.

Below is a list of each direct relative (head of household) who had their home destroyed, and number of relatives within each househould (spouse, children, etc). We will ensure that the funds reach the head of each household to be used for the immediate needs of those affected:
-Luis Gonzalez (6 total household members)
-Jorge Gonzalez (4 total household members)
-Gina Luna (3 total household members)
-Rosa Espinosa (1 total household members)
-Teresa Navarrete (4 total household members)

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for anything you can contribute.

Link to BBC Article.


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John Luna 
Astoria, NY
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