Chile’s forest fires cost 363 million U.S. dollars

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The forest fires that have ravaged much of Chile for more than two weeks have cost the government 233 billion pesos (363 million U.S. dollars), Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes said Friday.

The resources went to a number of responses, such as financing planes and helicopters to fight the fires, deploying armed forces, subsidizing productive parts of the country, as well as reconstruction efforts.

Valdes said at a press conference that all these resources did not include contributions received from the private sector or the international community.

The minister said the fires, some of which are still ablaze, destroyed large parts of forests, agricultural areas and many homes in central and southern Chile.

Economy Minister Luis Felipe Cespedes said that the government is providing support for agricultural infrastructure and forestry companies as well as help for those who lost their jobs.

As for the tourism industry, Cespedes said the most urgent task is to ensure up-to-date information reaches non-affected areas so that tourism is not adversely affected.

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