State of catastrophe

An official ‘state of catastrophe’ has been declared in central Chile where firefighters have been trying to control forest fires described as the ‘worst in decades’.

In the O’Higgins region just to the south of the Chilean capital Santiago more than 175 square miles of landed was affected and more than two hundred residents had to be evacuated.

There were no reports of lost lives but Josefina Lopez, a spokesperson for the country’s National Emergency Office  said there had been considerable economic damage while agriculture minister Carlos Furche described the fires as ‘ a sort of earthquake.’