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Montevideo, July 15th 2018 - 22:55 UTC

State of emergency in north of Chile because of torrential rain and floods

Tuesday, August 11th 2015 - 07:18 UTC
Full article 3 comments
“Some people lost all their belongings, others have been left in very complex situations,” the president said in the city of Tocopilla. “Some people lost all their belongings, others have been left in very complex situations,” the president said in the city of Tocopilla.
In just three hours, Tocopilla, a town of some 20,000 in Chile's arid far north, registered as much rain as has fallen there in the last seven years. In just three hours, Tocopilla, a town of some 20,000 in Chile's arid far north, registered as much rain as has fallen there in the last seven years.
“It was an incredible sight the way water came down so powerful and carried away houses and totally destroyed them” Housing Minister Paulina Saball said “It was an incredible sight the way water came down so powerful and carried away houses and totally destroyed them” Housing Minister Paulina Saball said

A state of emergency has been declared by the Chilean government in the northern cities of Antofagasta and Tocopilla due to the strong winds, heavy rains, flashfloods and mudslides. President Michelle Bachelet visited the north on Monday to observe first-hand the damage caused by a storm that left six people dead nationwide.

 “Some people lost all their belongings, others have been left in very complex situations,” the president said in the city of Tocopilla. The storm began four days ago across a dozen regions of Chile and has forced 830 people to flee their homes.

Four people were reported killed in the arid extreme north of the country which has been battered by powerful winds, torrential rains and mudslides. Two people died on Saturday in the cities of Valparaiso and Coquimbo.

Brigadier general Claudio Hernandez Muñoz is in charge of coordinating the response to the storm, Interior Minister Jorge Burgos announced during a press conference at the National Emergency Management Office (Onemi) where a State of Exception was declared.

After meeting with the emergency management committee of the area, Bachelet committed herself to strengthening security and ensuring the arrival of supplies for the survivors in Tocopilla, where 500 soldiers are working to clear away the mud and rubble.

In just three hours, Tocopilla, a town of some 20,000 in Chile's arid far north, registered as much rain as has fallen there in the last seven years.

The downpour caused five floods that poured directly onto the city and the highway that connects it with Antofagasta, where 180 people were trapped, most of whom were rescued Monday by air force helicopters.

“It was an incredible sight the way the water came down so powerfully from a ravine that it carried away houses and totally destroyed them,” Housing Minister Paulina Saball, who traveled to the affected area to inspect the work of clearing away the rubble, said on Radio Cooperativa.

Health Minister Carmen Castillo, who also went to Tocopilla to check on the hospital there, announced the provision of flu and tetanus shots for those in the area who needed them.

Categories: Economy, Environment, Politics, Chile.

Top Comments

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  • ElaineB

    Everyone in Chile has complained about the lack of rain in recent years - part of the drought that has affected the whole West Coast of the Americas. But this kind of sudden downpour doesn't usually help.That said, I remember a drought we had in the UK a few years back and whilst taking a walking at a local half-empty reservoir an official told me that even if it rained all year it would not fill, things were so bad. I went away for 4 months and when I came back it was full. Just sayin'.

    Whatever, it is good to see the people in Chile affected being helped.

    Aug 11th, 2015 - 10:55 am 0
  • jakesnake

    I was watching TVN last night and the footage of the water was incredible. I've been up around Putre and Parinacota in Bolivian winter and when it pours down, that hardpan earth is like concrete, so the water moves like a freight train. It looks like FACh and the Army are doing good work.

    Aug 11th, 2015 - 03:18 pm 0
  • Chicureo

    The curse we have in Chile is having too little, or way too much rain. Rainfall has been measured here for over 450 years and it's just a price we have to accept.

    Meanwhile, the government has been doing an excellent job with the emergency.

    Aug 12th, 2015 - 11:48 am 0
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