Disasters & Accidents

State of emergency declared after at least 14 die due to storm in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Dec 18 (EFE).- A state of emergency and three days of mourning were declared for Buenos Aires province on Monday, after at least 14 people died due to a huge storm that struck Argentina over the weekend.

Winds with gusts of over 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and flooding have caused “extremely serious damage”, the Buenos Aires provincial government said on Monday.

The country’s most populous province, which is home to some 17.5 million people, will have an “administrative and school holiday” in several localities, including Bahía Blanca, the worst affected by the storm.

Thirteen people died when the wall of a sports hall in the port city collapsed during a competition on Saturday.

A woman also died in Moreno, 47 kilometers from the capital city Buenos Aires.

Provincial governor Axel Kicillof traveled to Bahia Blanca on Sunday to inspect the damage and to review the emergency protocols with local authorities.

He also met with the new president of Argentina, the far-right libertarian Javier Milei, who traveled to the city some 640 kilometers from the capital with several members of his cabinet, including the ministers of defense, Luis Petri, and security, Patricia Bullrich, to assess the situation.

Late on Sunday, the National Energy Secretariat reported that “emergency measures had been taken to restore the electricity supply in the areas affected by the storm”, where one million users were reported to have been without power. The authorities said the service would return to normal within 72 hours.

The storm mainly affected the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, where on Monday there were still trees fallen on parked cars, damage to balconies, pavements and various structures.

But the National Meteorological Service (SMN) has warned that the provinces of Santa Fe, Corrientes and Entre Rios, on the coast of the Parana River, could see more heavy storms with intense rain, wind gusts and occasional hail. EFE

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