Millions without water in Santiago after floods and landslides cause havoc in Chile
Three people are dead and 19 others are missing after heavy rains struck Chile over the weekend during the country’s usually dry summer months, causing mudslides and water outages in the South American nation.
The rains, which caused rivers to overflow their banks in mountain valleys near Chile’s capital, Santiago, have isolated 373 people, the Onemi emergency service said late on Sunday.
The drinking-water supply for over a million households in Santiago has been affected, and Aguas Andinas, the company that provides water to the capital, said rains were making repairs difficult.
Falling rocks and other debris overwhelmed the intakes for urban water systems, cutting service to about 1.2 million homes.
“Emergency teams are working on the ground to connect with isolated personas and re-establish the water supply wherever possible,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet wrote on Twitter.
In the O’Higgins region, south of Santiago, a 12-year-old girl was killed when a landslide swept away the car in which she was traveling.
Officials in the capital region said two bodies had been recovered from a river near Santiago.
In the San Jose de Maipo valley, directly above the city, emergency crews had to clear the roads of debris before residents could evacuate to lower, less mountainous ground.
It was the second major flooding event to hit central Chile in the past year.
Last April, heavy rains battered the San Jose de Maipo valley, killing one and causing major flooding in downtown Santiago after a river breached its banks.