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Chile hit by heavy rains, state of 'catastrophe' declared

June 14, 2024

Thousands of houses in Chile have been damaged and even more have lost power. Authorities have declared several regions, including the capital Santiago, as "disaster zones."

An aerial view of a flooded area in Chile
Thousands of homes in Chile have been damaged due to incessant rains that led to mudslidesImage: Juan Gonzalez/REUTERS

Heavy rains wreaked havoc in south and central Chile killing one person, causing property damage and forcing authorities to declare a state of catastrophe in several regions of the country.

Heavy downpours accompanied by storms led to flooding of roads, power outages and mudslides in several residential areas.

More than 2,000 homes have been damaged and 60,000 have lost power.

The Bio Bio region in the capital, Santiago, was among the worst-hit areas. Landslides crushed dozens of homes that were already evacuated.

Firefihters rescuing a person in Santiago, Chile
People have been asked to evacuate from their homes in several regions of ChileImage: Ivan Alvarado/REUTERS

A person in the southern city of Linares died when a lamppost fell after hours of incessant rain, the Senapred disaster response service said.

Senapred said the heavy rain has affected about 3,300 people, down from an initial estimate of 4,300.

'Disaster zone' declared

Chile's central and southern regions have experienced rain throughout the past week, which has caused schools to shut down and people to be displaced.

Aerial view of a flood area in Chile
Large swathes of land have been submerged in water and roads have been floodedImage: Juan Gonzalez/REUTERS

A "disaster zone" was declared in Santiago and other provinces. 

To mitigate loss, the Education Ministry has ordered the suspension of classes in seven of Chile's 16 regions, including the capital, for the rest of the week.

"The city is resisting, but we call for responsibility," the Santiago Metropolitan Region governor said as he insisted residents stay indoors.

mfi/sms (AFP, AP)