This is How Neighbors and Companies in Southern Chile Organized to Face the Storms

CMPC was present in 14 affected municipalities in Biobio, Ñuble and La Araucania, where they deployed various types of multi-purpose crews to clear routes and help flooded neighbors and distributed more than 20 thousand packages with personal hygiene items. Although neighbors in the various affected areas highlighted the support from local authorities, they complained about the central government’s delay.

Considered one of the most important weather events in the past 20 years in Chile, the frontal system that struck the country in recent weeks left more than 11,000 victims, the southern macro-zone being one of the most affected according to data from the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service.  Although the rain has given thousands of families affected in southern Chile a break, many continue to be damaged and cannot return to their homes. 

That is why the action of private companies together with local authorities has been key in supporting recovery for thousands of people in municipalities like Mulchen, Nacimiento, Santa Juana, Hualqui, Los Angeles, Yumbel, Laja, San Rosendo, Negrete, Santa Barbara and Cañete in the Biobio Region; Yungay in the Ñuble Region; and Collipulli and Puren in the Araucania Region. 

One of the companies deployed to help was CMPC. Four command posts in Laja, Nacimiento, Los Angeles and Villa Mininco (Collipulli) to coordinate help for 14 affected municipalities in Biobío, Ñuble and La Araucania, 37 brigades and 51 machines such as backhoes and hopper trucks to clear routes, remove debris and clean sewers were some of the contributed resources.

For Carlos Toloza, mayor of Nacimiento, in the Biobio Region, the support provided by CMPC was essential in the emergency. “The machinery, crews, help in terms of connectivity and solutions provided to our neighbors in the rural sector show that they are always available to the municipality and our needs during this catastrophe,” he stated.

Alfredo Peña, mayor of Negrete, in the Biobio Region, pointed out that after the recent episodes caused by adverse weather in the Biobio Region, 80% of the municipality of Negrete suffered serious damages. “More than 220 houses were flooded, and 800 people were affected by the rain, wind and floods. But something must be made clear: without CMPC’s support, who was there collaborating from minute one, either logistically, with machinery or many other things that we have seen are always at the disposal of the municipality of Negrete, this would not have been dealt with in the same way. We are thankful for their collaboration and planning with Negrete, our community and neighbors.” 

Additionally, through Softys, CMPC extended aid to people in shelters by delivering over 20 thousand packages with paper towels, toilet paper, wet wipes, baby diapers, adult diapers and sanitary towels.

The company also provided gravel and sand for repairs and minor road stabilizing. This in addition to sewers of various sizes to enable roads in the municipality of Negrete, the distribution of more than 3000 bags with coal, emergency kits for flooded houses and drinking water supply for the affected communities.

“The government did not come, and the first to help was CMPC”

The president of the El Maiten neighborhood council, Sandra Oyarzo, was one of the neighbors in the rural area of Hualqui who was isolated during the storm after landslides caused by the overflowing of the creek that struck the territory. The area is 18 kilometers away from downtown Hualqui; therefore, as mentioned by the also president of the Alfa Rural Committee, it is fundamental that the roads be clear.   

“The government did not come, and the first to help was CMPC. Thanks to their work with machines, we were able to have connectivity immediately restored with downtown Hualqui. This is due to our fluent communication with the company’s territorial teams. The presence of CMPC is invaluable. It gives us peace, security and constant support,” said the president of the Alfa Rural Committee.

Although neighbors in the various affected areas highlighted the support from local authorities, they complained about the central government’s delay. This is the case of Jonathan Sandoval from the sector of San Francisco Millapoa de Nacimiento in the Biobio Region, who said that “I thank CMPC for their support to our sector during the emergency. We are thankful for their cooperation when we needed it. They are always present with help that sometimes comes faster than State aid.”