By Augusto Scarella Arce/Diálogo February 02, 2017 Chile has been ravaged by a series of wildfires since January 11th, with 142 disasters declared in different regions of the country’s center and south to date. Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, responded by issuing decrees declaring several states of emergency, which under the country’s constitution set in motion a set of measures aimed at overcoming the public disaster besetting a large swath of the country. From the beginning of this emergency, General Arturo Merino Núñez, director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (EMCO, per its Spanish acronym), has continuously deployed units from the Emergency Operations Center to maintain precise control and coordination of the defensive measures employed to combat the wildfires. “This effort by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the direct consultation of the Ministry of Defense, will remain available 24 hours a day for as long as needed,” Gen. Merino said. National response More than 8,000 members of the Armed Forces are providing emergency assistance, having fought 77 wildfires to date. Of the total wildfires, covering nearly 300,000 hectares, 51 have been brought under control and 14 have been extinguished. Almost 300 vehicles, including all types of tanker and transport equipment, have been flown to the affected areas by the Chilean Air Force. Additionally, 25 planes have been brought in by the Chilean Armed Forces, which together with 18 other government organizations are working to assist members of the National Forestry Service (CONAF, per its Spanish acronym) brigades and firefighters. The national defense is also fighting fires directly through the Army Forest Fire Reinforcement Brigades, with units that provide nationwide coverage and that enjoy autonomy in deployment and logistics. Minister of Defense José Antonio Gómez made another visit to the affected areas on January 25th, accompanied by Rear Admiral Jorge Rodriguez Urria, EMCO’s chief of Operations and Joint Administration, to coordinate the military’s actions on the ground. The minister was clear and quite specific about the aid from military institutions: “They will work night and day to restore conditions that will allow rebuilding from the destruction caused by a fire of an intensity never before seen in this country.” Partner nations step in with support On January 26th, authorities met at the airport with a group of 29 Colombian brigade members who voluntarily came to help. The United States also responded very rapidly to the difficult situation Chileans are experiencing. The U.S. Agency for International Development, through its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) donated $100 million to the non-governmental organization Caritas Chile for the local acquisition and delivery of firefighting equipment, such as power saws and weather monitoring tools requested by the Chilean National Forestry Service. “A team from the U.S. Forestry Service and USAID/OFDA is being deployed in Chile. It is made up of emergency personnel and staff with technical expertise in fighting forest fires,” said Nicole Gallagher, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Chile. On January 27th and 28th, fire brigade members from Mexico also arrived. There is a total of 609 firefighters from Argentina, Colombia, the United States, Panama, Peru, and Mexico, among other countries, fighting the flames with their Chilean counterparts. For its part, on January 29th, Brazil’s Air Force (FAB, per its Portuguese acronym) deployed two C-130 aircraft to support Chile in combatting the forest fires. Operated by the First Troop Transport Group, the aircraft arrived in Chile with 28 service members on board. “The crew follows the guidelines provided by ONEMI [Chilean Ministry of Interior’s National Office for Emergency], and the CONAF [National Forestry Corporation], who are responsible for coordinating the international aid, and it will be distributed to the place they will operate from,” explained FAB Colonel Paulo Cesar Andari, military attaché for the Brazilian Air Force in Chile, according to information from FAB. Likewise, the Peruvian Air Force transported 55 firefighters from the Civil Defense Institute and a 212 Bell helicopter aboard an L-100-20 Hercules and a C-27J Spartan aircraft from the Eighth Air Group, to help Chile fight the forest fires, according to information from defense news website Defensa.com.
New York Post 20 August 2016Family First Comment: This is a fascinating read.“The middle and upper classes have been the ones out there pushing for decriminalization and legalization measures, and they have also tried to demolish the cultural taboo against smoking pot. But they themselves have chosen not to partake very much. Which is not surprising. Middle-class men and women who have jobs and families know that this is not a habit they want to take up with any regularity because it will interfere with their ability to do their jobs and take care of their families. But the poor, who already have a hard time holding down jobs and taking care of their families, are more frequently using a drug that makes it harder for them to focus, to remember things and to behave responsibly.”Pot for the poor! That could be the new slogan of marijuana-legalization advocates. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. There are now 25 states that permit the use of marijuana, including four as well as the District of Columbia that permit it for purely recreational use. Colorado and Washington were the first to pass those laws in 2012. At least five states have measures on the ballot this fall that would legalize recreational use. And that number is only likely to rise with an all-time high (no pun intended) of 58 percent of Americans (according to a Gallup poll last year) favoring legalization.The effects of these new laws have been immediate. One study, which collected data from 2011-12 and 2012-13 showed a 22 percent increase in monthly use in Colorado. The percentage of people there who used daily or almost daily also went up. So have marijuana-related driving fatalities. And so have incidents of children being hospitalized for accidentally ingesting edible marijuana products.But legalization and our growing cultural acceptance of marijuana have disproportionately affected one group in particular: the lower class.A recent study by Steven Davenport of RAND and Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon notes that “despite the popular stereotype of marijuana users as well-off and well-educated . . . they lag behind national averages” on both income and schooling.For instance, people who have a household income of less than $20,000 a year comprise 19 percent of the population but make up 28 percent of marijuana users. And even though those who earn more than $75,000 make up 33 percent of the population, 25 percent of them are marijuana users. Having more education also seems to make it less likely that you are a user. College graduates make up 27 percent of the population but only 19 percent of marijuana users.The middle and upper classes have been the ones out there pushing for decriminalization and legalization measures, and they have also tried to demolish the cultural taboo against smoking pot. But they themselves have chosen not to partake very much. Which is not surprising. Middle-class men and women who have jobs and families know that this is not a habit they want to take up with any regularity because it will interfere with their ability to do their jobs and take care of their families.But the poor, who already have a hard time holding down jobs and taking care of their families, are more frequently using a drug that makes it harder for them to focus, to remember things and to behave responsibly.The new study, which looked at use rates between 1992 and 2013, also found that the intensity of use had increased in this time. The proportion of users who smoke daily or near daily has increased from 1 in 9 to 1 in 3. As Davenport tells me, “This dispels the idea that the typical user is someone on weekends who has a casual habit.”Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and lecturer at Yale, says “it is ironic that the people lobbying for liberalized marijuana access do not appear to be the group that is consuming the bulk of it.” Instead, it’s “daily and near-daily users, who are less educated, less affluent and less in control of their use.”In fact, the typical user is much more likely to be someone at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, whose daily life is driven, at least in part, by the question of how and where to get more marijuana. Just consider the cost. Almost a third of users are spending a tenth of their income on marijuana. And 15 percent of users spend nearly a quarter of their income to purchase the drug. The poor have not only become the heaviest users, but their use is making them poorer.READ MORE: http://nypost.com/2016/08/20/legalized-pot-is-making-americas-lower-class-poorer-and-less-responsible/Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.