“Nature is giving tough lesson to the Poor in Chile once again”
The various means of communication have reported to the world the devastating consequences of the forest fires that have ravaged various regions of Chile. These fires reached heavily populated zones and have left thousands of people homeless. The most recent government report stated that 11 people died and 3,780 people were injured. Some 1,047 homes were destroyed and the area affected covered 547,190 hectares.
Once again mother nature has revealed her anger with our nation and our people. The area affected by these fires is the same area that was devastated by the 8.8 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that struck the area on February 27th, 2010. The difference being that the area that is affected by the fires is precisely the area where the people who fled the tsunami have settled.
As often happens in these situations, solidarity is immediately made real. Many Chileans and foreign residents have traveled to these areas to help combat the fires and to provide other forms of assistance. Solidarity has also been manifested by people outside our country: the prayers and the closeness of the Holy Father, the arrival of fire brigades from various Latin American countries and other nations from throughout the world (Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, France, Spain and others). The gestures of solidarity range from a large tanker plane to fight the fire (a plane sent by the Russian government) to a donation from a poor person in Argentina who sent some coins and some candy with a note expressing his shock because the houses of the people in Chile are burning … and therefore I send you what I have, even though it is so little.
The Vincentian Missionaries have also mobilized the members of their parishes and communities to send as much help as possible to this devastated area. At the present time, the confreres are organizing volunteers to go to this area to help with the reconstruction, a work that will begin as soon as the present emergency comes to an end. Other branches have been concerned about the works that they have in this area, works that could be destroyed by these fires.
Many people have organized prayer chains and in some dioceses the bishop has asked that the Masses this Sunday be offered for the people affected by this catastrophe (for the deceased, the injured, those who have been left homeless, for those combatting the fires).
We are sending our greetings to our brothers, members of the Congregation of the Mission and to all the members of the Vincentian Family … we ask that you accompany us and help us especially with your prayers … those persons most affected by this disaster are the poor, our lords and masters.
Fernando Marcias Fernández, CM
Visitor of Chile
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM