Fires broke out in the rural areas of Tomé during the 25th January until 1st February affecting areas such as San Carlitos, Los Quillayes, Lloicura, Santa Rita, Millahue, Conuco and Pissis located in Rafael and the Menque and Dichato area. There are 20 homes burned to the ground however, this rate can increase thus the fires are still active and the final registry will be made once the fires have been extinguished.
The municipality fitted out 3 shelters for the people affected. There are 37 people housed in the Rafael area, 15 in the school of Dichato and 3 in the Bellavista boarding school. The most complex situation ocurred on Thursday 26th when Daniel Vera Araya from Lloicura and with 38 years old passed away. His body was found completely burnt out inside his home.
The water supply is being delivered by 2 municipal road tankers, 2 provided by ONEMI, 2 by Camanchaca Company (25.000 liters each), 1 by CGE and 1 by Municipality of Talcahuano (10.000 liters).
In addition, ESSBIO is having some problems with the water supply in the highest parts of the affected area and the bad distribution of its road tankers.
Regarding the electric energy, there were sporadic power outages due to some damages affecting the high-voltage cables. Yet, CGE has been able to resolve the problems in a few days. The different fires have been tackled by the firefighters of Tomé with the support of companies from Talcahuano, Hualpén, Lota, Coronel, Cholguán, Pucón and Loncoche.
In addition, there is municipal machinery on the ground collaborating with weeding activities and also there are municipal trucks in charge of helping with the evacuations. Yesterday during the afternoon, with the presence of Andrea Muñoz, Governor of Concepción, and María Luz Gajardo, SERVIU Director, the provincial Emergency Operations Committee was conformed. During this occasion, the fire station was established as command post. Also, during this morning, Carlos Reveco, Provincial Director of CONAF, visited the area and there were conversations on ground about how to extinguish the fires, and they ensured the location of teams that will work on the sites affected and if possible, rely on air support.
The emergency and social team from the area, coordinated by COE and chaired by the mayor Eduardo Aguilera, are working since the beginning of the emergency taking care of the evacuations, shelters, register and helping the affected families.
Bottled water, energy drinks, and non-perishable food
The municipality organized a solidarity campaign to gather bottled water, energy drinks, and non-perishable food which will directly benefit the brigade members that combat forest fires in the area and those affected by the disaster. In addition, the mayor Aguilera suspended all the activities scheduled for this weekend and requested rescheduling the 2017 Tomecina Week for the week between the 12 and 19 February, under evaluation depending on the status of the emergency in the following days.Also, it is important to mention that finally the municipality and DISAM will sign the project “Health over wheels” with the Talcahuano health service. This initiative will provide mental health patients with transportation from rural areas.
Recupera Chile has been present from the very first day when the wildfire started, visiting shelters, and organizing activities for children, transporting people and animals to shelters or to veterinaries, and providing emotional support. We have visited the homes of a handful of people that lost their relatives due to the fire to provide them psychological support. In addition, we have participated in meetings with civil organizations and foundation to coordinate efforts, in collaboration with the local municipalities.
Also, Recupera Chile created a funding campaign through GoFundMe to support one of the families affected by the fires.
The family Fuentealba Riquelme is living in a temporary home granted by the government in their own property located in the Rafael area, Tomé. Mr. José and Mrs. Isabel say they are very optimistic about the progress and the construction of their definitive home. Their daughter, Cecilia started working at the Tomé Municipality and this income is a big help for her three children and to get social benefits.
They have used the money received from the donation to buy household items, such as a washing machine and cleaning and kitchen supplies. With this money, they have also been able to buy medicine for Mr. José who is starting chemotherapy.
HEALTH OVER WHEELS
The project “Health over wheels” is an initiative that emerged from the 2015-2016 Participative Budgets on Health of Talcahuano.
This project consisted in prioritizing the mobilization of users from rural areas of Tomé (such as Menque, Rafael, among others) to other establishments of the Network. To achieve this, $7.800.000 Chilean pesos were designated to implement this initiative. At the beginning, its objective was to afford the transportation of the users but the Health Service of Talcahuano finally contributed with a van, with funding from them and the Municipal Health Direction. The van was transferred as a loan to the Municipality of Tomé and although it is not a new one, complies with the objective of the project which is to make health more accessible to the outlying sectors.
Before the implementation, it will have a complete review in order to be in the best working conditions. The signature and announcement of this benefit was on Thursday 2nd at the Dichato hospital with the participation of Mauricio Jara Lavín, Health Service Director of Talcahuano and Héctor Ramírez Conejeros, DISAM Director, community leaders and health officials.