The United States Embassy and ADRA Assist Fire Victims in Chile

South American Division

The United States Embassy and ADRA Assist Fire Victims in Chile

The partnership between the Adventist agency and United States diplomats has enabled a rapid response to the wildfire emergency.

Humanitarian | Chile | Alfred Muller and Veronica Korsun

"I am very excited to be here in Santa Juana [southern Chile] with ADRA and USAID to support the community with humanitarian assistance," says U.S. Ambassador Bernadette Meehan, as she sums up her visit to one of the communities most affected by the fires that have been raging in Chile since late January.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency, as a strategic partner of the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, immediately mobilized to manage aid in the form of 600 kits containing basic hygiene and cooking supplies.

These emergency kits allow affected families to have the minimum to begin to recover after losing everything in the fire, which, to date, has claimed 370,000 hectares (approx. 914,000 acres) in the regions of Biobío, Ñuble, and La Araucanía and the lives of 24 people. Some consider it one of the most serious fire seasons in the country's recent history.

"We are very grateful to ADRA," continues the ambassador, who, together with her USAID team, participated in the first delivery of these basic implements on February 10.

Complementing this, Mariela Chavarriga, the subregional manager of USAID, affirms that "the good news is that we are once again together with ADRA, doing the best we know how to do, which is to help alleviate the situation".

Hundreds of volunteers, dressed with the Adventist institution's logo, have been deployed to go the extra mile every day. "Today, we have a command post where ADRA has a fundamental role," emphasizes Ana Albornoz, mayor of Santa Juana. "They have been able to bring a word of encouragement, with all their values, to each of our neighbors."

"We came here just for a couple of toothbrushes, and we are leaving with a complete kit.… This help will be very significant for the students who lost everything," says Alejandro Neira, a teacher at a public school in Santa Juana.

Diego Trincado, ADRA's national director, says, "We thank God because we can count on a large team of volunteers and a professional team of volunteers from ADRA Villa Alemana who were willing to help. We are happy to be able to serve as an institution, and we do it always with justice, compassion, and love."

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish-language news site.