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MAY 2, 2014

Destructive Fire in Valparaíso, Chile

Destructive Fire in Valparaíso, Chile

PUENTE ALTO, Chile—On April 13, 2014, a wildfire fueled by strong Pacific winds swept through the historic port city of Valparaíso, Chile. The blaze killed at least 15 people and injured 500 others. Some 2,900 homes were completely destroyed, and over 10,000 people have been displaced.

The branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Chile reports that one elderly male Witness was among the fatalities. Further, some 89 Witnesses have lost their homes. Many of those displaced have received shelter in the homes of fellow worshippers. The branch office immediately formed a disaster relief committee that is providing assistance to the victims. Organized teams of volunteers have already begun the cleanup. When conditions permit, they will begin reconstructing the estimated 28 homes of fellow Witnesses that were damaged by the fire.

Jason D. Reed, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Chile, comments: “We are saddened to hear of the suffering of our neighbors that resulted from this wildfire. We mourn the loss of our fellow worshipper, and we keep those who have lost friends or family members in our prayers. We will continue to support the victims with relief aid and whatever else is needed to help them cope with the traumatic aftermath of this disaster.”

Media Contact(s):

International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000

Chile: Jason D. Reed, tel. +56 2 2428 2600