Four people dead, 42,000 cut off amid heavy rains in Chile

Santiago de Chile, Aug 23 (EFE).- At least four people have died in Chile after record rainfall in the south and center of the country, the National Disaster Prevention and Response System (Senapred) said Wednesday.

Some 21,519 homes have been destroyed while more than 42,000 people have been cut off since Saturday.

The four victims were a firefighter, a motorist, a 73-year-old woman who fell into a canal in the Maule region, and an 86-year-old man who fell into a river in the Ñuble region, some 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) south of Santiago.

The Ministry of Education suspended classes in 70 municipalities, including the metropolitan regions of Santiago, O’Higgins, Ñuble, Maule and Biobío, where the government has declared a state of emergency.

Freight and passenger rail services have been suspended in the southern zone, where roads and highways have also been flooded.

The government has deployed more than 600 military personnel, supported by air and land assets, to carry out various tasks to manage the emergency and facilitate the transfer of resources to affected families.

“We will continue to be on the ground to accelerate the presence of the State in the places affected by this emergency,” said president Gabriel Boric on Wednesday morning.

“We are mobilizing all the resources in order to reach every corner and every family in these difficult times,” he added, after Monday’s declaration of a state of emergency in the most affected regions.

This is the second episode of intense rainfall to hit central and southern Chile this winter, after the first left thousands of affected people in June.

Experts believe that the extreme rainfall is – in part – a consequence of the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. EFE


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