Chilean co-ops launch fundraising appeal to support wildfire victims

The wildfires are the biggest tragedy to hit the country since the 2010 earthquake

As Chile battles its deadliest wildfires on record, the country’s co-ops have launched a fundraising appeal to support members affected by the disaster.

The wildfires, which started earlier this month, affected the country’s central area, particularly the regions of Valparaíso, O’Higgins and Maule. Chilean officials say at least 123 have lost their lives, with hundreds still missing – making the wildfires the country’s biggest tragedy since the 2010 earthquake.

Before the wildfires broke out, the country’s capital Santiago reached 37.3 degrees Celsius, the country’s third-highest recorded temperature in more than a century.

Chile has witnessed an increase in wildfire activity in recent years due to high temperatures, drought and strong winds.

A 2024 study on extreme fire weather in Chile found that fire activity has dramatically risen in recent years, with 1.7 million hectares burnt in the country over the last decade.

In response, some Chilean co-ops are fundraising to help relief efforts. The National Association of Cooperatives of Chile (Asociación Nacional de Cooperativas de Chile) is encouraging members and supporters to contribute to the two fundraising campaigns launched by its member co-ops.

“Serious forest fires are strongly affecting the Valparaíso Region. There are thousands of families affected, who have lost homes and loved ones,”  the apex said in a statement.

“Among this group of victims, unfortunately, there are also co-operators. That is why different co-operatives and federations are carrying out aid campaigns for those affected.

“It is in the most difficult moments when co-operation becomes more important, which is why we call on everyone who can to collaborate in these causes.”

Likewise, Coopeuch, a financial co-op, is encouraging all members affected by the wildfires to get in touch to receive support.

“As a co-operative, we want to extend our support and solidarity to all members who have been affected,” is said.

One of the co-ops fundraising is Santa Inés Cooperative (Coopacsi), which forms part of the Chilean Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Fecrecoop). The co-op started a campaign to support victims under the tagline “All for Viña”. In collaboration with Fecrecoop, Coopacsi raising funds to support victims and running a collection centre at Av. ConCon 1729, Santa Inés, Viña del Mar, where people can donate non-perishable food, water, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies.

Some of the products donated (Photo credit: Coopacsi)

“Faced with this tragedy, our co-op cannot remain indifferent to the pain and needs of our neighbours, especially those who are members and collaborators or the families that have been directly affected,” the co-op said in a statement. “Your help could make a different in the lives of those who have lost everything. Let us come together as a community to support them in this difficult moment. Help us support Viña.”

Similarly, the Champa Hospital Drinking Water Cooperative, a member of the National Federation of Health Services Cooperatives of Chile (Fesan), is pooling resources to bring drinking water to the El Olivar sector, in the Valparaíso Region, which has been seriously affected by the fire.

Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina have also experienced wildfires in recent weeks.

Donations to the two co-ops can be made using the details below:

COOPACSI

Recipient name: COOPACSI

Bank: Banco de Chile

Current account

Account number: 149-03620-05

Single Tax Register: 70.018.610-5

Champa Hospital Drinking Water Cooperative

Recipient name: Coop Drinking Water Hospital Champa Ltda.

Single Tax Register: 70.025.350-3

Bank: Banco Estado

Current account

Account number: 37700045421

Transfer reference: Water for El Olivar.

For further info, email: [email protected]

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