Emergency Chile Mission ends, the 15 enterprise of humanitarian help of the Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation – which this time aimed at helping the victims of the great forest fires that has affected the Center and the South of the Andean country since the beginning of January.
A team of 15 volunteers, including missionaries, monastics of the Grace Mercy Order and collaborator of the Planetary Mission Network joined, between February 7 and 20, the 600 foreign volunteers coming from 18 countries and the 11 thousand Chilean volunteers, to take material and spiritual support to the human, animal and plant victims.
In a little more than one month, the fires left a balance of 600 thousand hectares destroyed, including forests, fields and cultivations, more than 16 hundred houses destroyed and provoked the death of 11 people and of hundreds of animals. Thousands of people lost their homes, vehicles, work tools. Many are living in temporary hostels, as well as the animals that are being rescued and healed. A draft that has lasted for 10 years, the high temperatures and the strong winds favor the extension of fire focuses.
The Emergency Chile Mission concentrated its efforts in two of the most damaged geographic regions: O’Higgins and Maule. In the first, it helped mainly the Animal and Plant Kingdoms and in the second the Human Kingdom.
During six days, it cooperated with other volunteers in an animal hostel near Rancagua, the capital of the 6th Region of O’Higgins, 120 km South of Santiago de Chile. In this place, the missionaries of the Fraternidade supported the care to horses, cows, dogs, cats and pigs. They helped the building of corrals, the cleaning of spaces, the organization of donations and the fixing of lunches. They also collaborated in the building of greenhouses for the reforestation of burnt areas.
Afterwards, the mission moved to the city of San Javier, in the 7th Region of Maule, 200 km South of Santiago de Chile. There, it collaborated with volunteers of the foundation “Desafio Levantemos Chile” (Challenge Let’s Raise Chile) in the organization and distribution of donations to the affected families. It managed to reach even far-off places, severely damaged, where the governmental help had not arrived yet.
In all geographic points where they worked, the missionaries conducted group attunements of prayer, some of them reserved and others with the participation of members of the Network-of-Light of Chile, of other volunteers and even of the assisted people themselves. They shared with many youths, who, with a lot of enthusiasm, participated in the helping activities and also in the prayers. “This group of the Fraternidade arrived with an incredible energy that gave us strength to carry on and stimulated the youths to participate a lot”, commented Odette, a volunteer of the group “Desafio Levantemos Chile”, in San Javier, Maule.
“During the whole mission I perceived a lot of union and fraternity. I felt the Virgin Mary very present with us. It is up to me to thank in the name of all of my countrypersons for this great help, this mercy that descended from Heaven”, highlighted Adriana Soto, a member of the Network-of-Light of Chile, and of the group of missionaries of the Fraternidade.
“During the service, we built a unity in which we felt the best of all brothers and sisters we approached”, said José Ribeiro, who acted as a missionary, representing the Network-of-Light of Europe.
In all situations, there was a clear difference made by the love with which we tried to collaborate, no matter how simple the actions, such as removing debris or helping cover a little space. This could be felt in the deep gratitude that everyone assisted manifested, through the eye or through long embraces”, commented José Luiz, the coordinator of the Network-of-Light group of São Carlos, Brazil, and also a member of the group of the Emergency Chile Mission.