In response to heavy rains in central and southern Chile, the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) is assessing damage in growing areas and the impact on water storage and irrigation infrastructure, as well as evaluating support actions to communities affected by the downpour, according to a news release.
“People are facing losses and very challenging times due to these rains. Our heart goes out to them, especially the people working in the countryside and rural areas of Chile. We are evaluating support measures for these communities and are committed to working with the authorities on what action can be taken to assist them,” ASOEX President Iván Marambio said in the release.
It has been many years since receiving rainfall like this, generating a rise in water levels in the basins and causing rivers and streams to swell, Marambio said. Although Chile was expecting rainfall that would allow the country to combat a 10-year-plus drought, communities are now facing an excess of precipitation in a very short time and with inadequate infrastructure, he said.
“Our reports of the accumulated rainfall between June 19 and June 25 indicate there are several areas, from Valparaíso to Los Lagos, that have received more than 100mm (nearly 4 inches) of rain. Maule and Ñuble have some parts with more than 200mm of rainfall,” Marambio said in the release. “Our first concern is the people, but we are also worried about damage to canals and dams. We’ve closed intakes and canals due to excess flow, but in some cases this hasn’t been enough, and people in the surrounding areas have been impacted.”
The ASOEX president stressed the importance of working together.
“The challenges imposed by climate change must be addressed by all of us: communities, unions, the private industry, and the public sector. ASOEX will work hard to achieve this unity and improve our water infrastructure,” he said.
According to the release, ASOEX reports no direct damage to fruit, but the organization is undertaking an assessment of damage to orchards from flooding and mud. The effect on automatic irrigation systems and infrastructure is also being evaluated.
We will be able to better assess the full impact over the next few days,” Marambio said.