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Wildfires in Valparaiso, Chile

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Classes at all Valparaíso universities have been cancelled until Monday, April 21. The universities made this decision so that students and staff may continue to help in the relief effort. IFSA-Butler Valparaíso Resident Director Mark Sinclair has organized a list of volunteer activities for IFSA-Butler students and their host families. These volunteer activities include gathering and distributing supplies to families in need, as well as helping at a soup kitchen. A photo of our students volunteering in the cleanup appeared in a Valparaíso newspaper (bottom right photo).

The National Forest Service of Chile is reporting that the wildfires 99 percent contained, with the remaining small fires being further from the city center. Mark Sinclair reports that air quality is already improving in the area.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wildfires have spread across Valparaíso, Chile, home to IFSA-Butler's Chilean Universities Program. The fires destroyed 500 homes, left thousands homeless and killed 11 people. As of Sunday morning, the fires were mostly under control.

IFSA-Butler students were not directly affected by these fires, as most host families homes are located in the neighboring city of Viña del Mar, and those in Valparaíso were in low-lying areas away from the fires. All IFSA-Butler students and their host families are accounted for and fine.

Our resident director in Valparaíso, Mark Sinclair, has asked IFSA-Butler students and their host families to contribute as they are able with basic supplies such as food, clothes, personal hygiene supplies, construction materials, etc., in coordination with local government and recognized aid organizations. Mark Sinclair will also be identifying volunteer opportunities that will allow IFSA-Butler students to help with this tragedy and form a solidarity with those in need.

IFSA-Butler will keep in close contact with students regarding lingering smoke problems, class cancellations or other issues related to these fires. We will update our audiences on this situation as necessary.

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