Risks in camps: no more lives to regret

Just a couple of days before the start of these national holidays, terrible news hit us: a father and his three children lost their lives due to a fire in the Felipe Camiroaga camp in Viña del Mar. Unfortunately, events like this are not isolated. This year a series of natural and man-made events have occurred that are considered among the various threats that can affect our territory. It is not necessary to go back much in time to reach May 21 and remember another fatal fire that affected the Jesús de Nazareth camp in the Alto Hospicio commune, in which 9 people died, including 4 adults, 3 children and 2 minors. two years old The houses affected in both fires are made of light material, as are those of most of these settlements, in which more than 81,000 families live throughout the country.

In other types of emergencies, if we move to July of this year we can remember the different situations to which many homes were exposed from the intense frontal system that affected the central zone of the country. Among them are the more than 500 families who live in the Dignidad camp located in the commune of La Florida, a place where the floods were present and also the danger, for being settled on the banks of a canal, as it is, in this case, the Zanjón de la Aguada. On this occasion, more than 100 families were affected, in some cases they even needed to relocate and have emergency housing that would allow them to survive in the storm.

Given these events, we ask ourselves, could they have been prevented from becoming disasters? The answer is yes, with joint work between the public and private sectors and civil society, which manages to develop concrete action plans focused on the preparation and action of communities in the face of emergencies resulting from disasters -where, educating and training neighbors about preventive measures appropriate to their territory, in terms of geographical, socioeconomic characteristics and the habitability conditions of their homes- becomes a fundamental axis of disaster risk management.

The study of Risks and Vulnerability in Camps carried out by TECHO-Chile, aims to help us understand that risk is a probability, which is made up of three essential factors: the latent threats in the territory, the vulnerability of the population residing in these settlements and their exposure to risk. In this equation there is a component in which we cannot influence, such as the presence of threats, but it is in our hands to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of these families. It is a task of all the actors and, above all, of public policy, to guarantee an adequate, comprehensive disaster management in which the different scales of governance work, where there is a support network, both public and private. that seeks to articulate training and community spaces.

In recent times, the government has advanced in terms of housing policy, which opens up various possibilities and generates hope in families living in camps and who long for their own home. However, it must be understood that the road to formal housing is not from one day to the next, which must be protected and dignified, so this transitoriness must also be taken care of, where one of the central axes must be disaster risk management.

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Risks in camps: no more lives to regret