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Chile declares curfew in two regions affected by forest fires

#Chile #declares #curfew #regions #affected #forest #fires

Chile has announced a nighttime curfew in regions where forest fires have been blazing for more than a week, leaving at least 24 people dead, a military chief said on Thursday.

The curfew will come into effect on Friday and last from midnight until 5:00 am in at least 20 municipalities in the central regions of Biobio and La Araucania, said rear admiral Jorge Keitel, the military chief for Biobio.

The move is aimed at preventing thefts and looting in the affected regions.

General Ruben Castillo, the military chief for La Araucania, said the curfew implied restrictions to public transport, “especially in Malleco province.”

That is one of the provinces most affected by clashes between radical groups from the Mapuche Indigenous community and state forces.

The Mapuche have carried out arson attacks on private property and logging machinery.

They are fighting for the restoration of ancestral lands seized by the Chilean state more than a century ago and now in the hands of logging companies.

Chile President Gabriel Boric had said on Wednesday he would impose a nighttime curfew in the three regions where a state of disaster has been declared due to the fires: Biobio, La Araucania and Nuble.

He had said the curfew was necessary “to guarantee the safety of people affected by the emergency.”

However, no curfew has yet been announced in Nuble.

The fires have left 24 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, while destroying more than 300,000 hectares of forest in the regions of Biobio, La Araucania, Nuble and Maule, an area equal to that of Puerto Rico.

More than 1,100 homes have been destroyed, leaving more than 5,500 people homeless, according to official reports.

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