LatinNews Daily - 12 February 2024

In brief: Chile’s Boric launches wildfire reconstruction process

*Chile’s President Gabriel Boric has announced the creation of a reconstruction committee to lead the rebuilding of the areas affected by devastating wildfires which broke out in the central region of Valparaíso on 2 February. The committee, which will be coordinated by social development minister, Javiera Toro, will meet today (12 February) at the national palace. The committee will also comprise the ministers of the interior and public security (Carolina Tohá), finance (Mario Marcel), public works (Jessica López), housing and urban development (Carlos Montes), and agriculture (Esteban Valenzuela Van Treek). Speaking from the city of Viña del Mar in Valparaíso region, Boric stressed that the rebuilding was not going to be an easy process but “we are going to pick ourselves up as we have always done”.  Boric stated that while the initial response centred on “immediate action, saving lives, controlling the fire, addressing the most urgent needs, caring for the injured”, now was the time to move on to a new phase, saying that “it is time to stand up, recover what was lost and rebuild”. Summarising the support measures implemented so far, Boric stated that the first payment of a ‘recovery bond’, designed to cover a one-time big expense such as the fires, had benefitted 1,930 households with more payments due; a payment of 50 UF (an inflation-indexed unit of account calculated and published by Chile’s central bank), equivalent to Cl$1.84m (US$1,890) made to those with damaged homes; tax relief; a labour retention subsidy; early social care for the elderly, people with disabilities and children and adolescents; funeral services for families with deceased relatives; veterinary care; and mental health care and psychosocial support, which have been deployed at health centres, shelters and in the affected area.

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