CMPC donated wood to 350 families affected by the forest fires in Santa Juana
Parish priest at Immaculate Conception in Santa Juana led the initiative. He coordinated with the municipality to gather various aid items for people who lost their belongings in the fires that happened early in the year.
In the Biobío Region, the largest fire that affected the country, named the Santa Ana fire, devastated Nacimiento and the community of Santa Juana, burning more than 74 thousand hectares. It destroyed the flora and fauna of wide swathes of land and took human lives as well. That was what happened to Luis Roca’s wife, from the Chacay area. After getting trapped in their vehicle in the middle of the burning forest, Luis had to flee on foot with his wife and young son; however, she did not manage to escape. “I told my son to keep running, but then the fire came from above and he started screaming. I went to find where he ran to, but when I went back for my wife, the fire had already gotten to her. I burned my face and ran over to my son. There was a ditch, and we took refuge there. My wife almost made it, but she got tired,” he said while getting emotional.
After being hospitalized for two months with his young boy, today he’s looking to the future with the help of his sister and neighbors. He hopes to rebuild his home, the one his wife loved so much. “It’s the house that my wife wanted. She loved the countryside here, so I wanted to return for her and continue everything as she would have wanted.”
The parish priest Ricardo Valencia, faced with the magnitude of the tragedy that occurred in Santa Juana, called for everyone’s solidarity in helping out their neighbors. That is why he asked CMPC to donate wood to help rebuild the victims’ homes. “At that time we were promoting a campaign called “One Hundred Houses for Santa Juana”, aimed at families that didn’t have government benefits to build their houses. Part of the financial resources we managed to collect were to be spent on wood so I said, well, that wood can come from the company,” remarked the priest.
Ultimately, 350 beneficiary families were able to build additions onto their new houses with this material, consisting of boards, beams and panels.
“I want to thank the company for its support, but also its workers who have been at the ready, the CMPC fire brigades who helped us in the early days of the fire and everyone from Santa Juana who works at CMPC,” said the priest.
“We’ve donated different types of wood to the community, and we are happy with what we’ve done. We’ve heard heartening stories about the gratitude of Santa Juana residents who’ve always been characterized by that quality, so seeing the tragedy they’ve experienced hits us hard. We spent time with Mr. Luis who also lost his wife in the fire, however, he only had words of gratitude and is looking forward to the future with his family,” said Gustavo Guerra, CMPC Head of Community Relations in Concepcion.
Lastly, the executive highlighted the work together with the community, regional authorities and the municipality in a partnership that will not end here. Future projects to benefit local residents are being planned.