Argentina is being hit by heavy fires raging in the province of Corrientes. For more than a month the fire has not stopped and the whole country is mobilized to assist the region in all the damages it is suffering.

This ecological catastrophe is devouring entire ecosystems (wetlands, grasslands, native forests), tree monocultures and biodiversity. According to the National Institute of Agricultural Technology of Corrientes, the area affected by the fire exceeds 785,238 hectares, equivalent to 9% of the provincial surface.

The Argentine chapter of the Laudato Si’ Movement is in action, in solidarity with the people affected. “The struggle of so many men and women, the experts on the fire fronts, and also those who, mobilized by the spirit of unity that makes us stand in solidarity, have participated from almost all over the country to help, each one according to their possibilities and in their own way,” says a statement signed by the coordinating team.

Thousands of animals were victims of the fire

They encourage to “continue working and deepening the causes, recognizing the mistakes, denouncing prophetically what corresponds, committed to the mission of taking care of our common home and all its creatures, because everything is connected”. 

The fire is generating a “debt with biodiversity and ecosystems that cannot be determined,” says Erika Kremer, Animator of Animators in the region. Her commitment to LSM encourages her to raise her voice: ” Committing to Laudato Si’ is to be encouraged to take care of our common home in unforeseen ways,” she says.

Want to take action for these fires? Sign the petition “Healthy Planet, Healthy People”.

In contact with her neighbors, Erika mentions that it is essential to raise awareness among the population: “The climate change must be taken seriously, as well as our responsibility and the consequences that await us if we do not act. We must raise awareness and fight to obtain the necessary laws and ensure that they are complied with”. 

The firefighters, mostly volunteers, “were faced with an enormous ferocity of the fire, which did not have any kind of resistance, but grew as the hours went by”.

Also from other provinces, animators were mobilized. This was the case of Rita Gómez, a biology teacher from Formosa, who joined as a volunteer: “I could not stand by and watch our home being destroyed. I went to the call of rescuers who were asking for volunteers”. 

She recounts the situation she experienced: “Alligators exhausted in the swamps, dying, capybaras with their legs burned, thirsty turtles, in a desolate scenario, sterilized by the fire that left nothing in its path. Young and not so young felt the call from their hearts to assist these innocent animals. As a Laudato Si’ Animator, I respond to the call of Pope Francis, from my place and conscience”.  

The region is entrusted to Mary of Itatí, Patron Virgin of Corrientes, so that the fire may cease and the subsequent crisis situation may be faced with great faith and solidarity. For more information, contact the Argentina Chapter of the Laudato Si’ Movement through Facebook or Instagram.

Pope Francis’ recognition

Juan Fernández Xifra, the General Director of Logistics and Operations for Risks and Catastrophes of the City of Corrientes, who also has a family relationship with Bergoglio, wrote an email to the Holy Father to tell him about the situation. A few days later, the reply arrived: “To all those who are working to overcome the fire and alleviate the catastrophe, especially the firefighters, please convey my gratitude and admiration”, Francis said.

The Pope also took the opportunity to recall the importance of caring for nature: “It is unbelievable how these fires are multiplying everywhere. It is one of the consequences of the bad care we have for nature,” he wrote.

To collaborate economically with the losses caused by the fires, you can do so through Caritas Argentina. If you are unable to make a monetary contribution, make a personal commitment to the cause by signing the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition now