Argentina – 1 Dead, Thousands Evacuated After Floods in Chubut Province

Rain has been falling in Chubut Province, Argentina, for more than 2 weeks, causing severe flooding in Comodoro Rivadavia and surrounding areas.  The city of Comodoro Rivadavia received more than a year’s worth of rain in the space of a few days.

Local authorities say that thousands of people have been forced from their homes. Although full damage assessments are yet to be carried out it is thought that there could be as many as 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

Comodoro Rivadavia municipality say that there are currently 3,000 people staying in 24 relief centres set up in schools, churches and community centres around the city. A further 6,000 people are thought to have “self-evacuated” to stay with friends or relatives.

The heavy rain first began to fall around Wednesday 29 March. By 31 March, 2017, around 1,300 people had evacuated their homes and the city declared a state of emergency.

Officials from Comodoro Rivadavia said that between Wednesday 29 March at 17:30 and Friday 31 March at 21:00, as much as 287.5 mm of rain fell in the city.  This figure is more than the city would normally see for the whole year (238.7 mm on average) and over ten times more than the average for March (usually around 20 to 24 mm).

Further heavy rain from 06 April forced more people from their homes. Local media report that one person has died in the floods. Authorities have since declared a disaster for the area.

Christian Garavaglia, Meteorologist at Servicio Meteorológico Nacional said via Twitter that in the last 13 days (to 07 April) Comodoro Rivadavia recorded 393.4 mm of rain, which he described as an “extraordinary amount.”

Images of clean up operations show the city’s streets still covered in flood debris. Telam News Agency said that “more than half a city was covered with mud, and roads and streets were severely damaged, with some 2,000 homes destroyed.”

Around 2,000 people in the Diadema Argentina area were cut off. Other hard hit areas include Caleta Cordova and Laprida.

The national government has deployed more than 1,500 troops to affected areas, as well as helicopters and aircraft to help with clean up and relief efforts.

Photos of the floods in Comodoro Rivadavia and surrounding areas. Photo credit: Ejército Argentino

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