Chile – Floods and Landslides After Record Rainfall

Severe weather including strong winds, hail and record rainfall affected parts of southern-central Chile from 29 January, in particular areas of Santiago Metropolitan, O’Higgins, Valparaíso, Maule, Araucanía and Bío Bío Regions.

Floods in San Gabriel , Cordillera, Chile, January 2021. Photo; Carabineros Prefectura Cordillera

Rainfall has triggered flooding and landslides in several areas. The capital Santiago saw as much rain in 24 hours as it would normally see on average during the 6 month period November to April. According to Chile’s meteorological office, Dirección Meteorológica de Chile, as much as 31.4mm of rain fell in 24 hours on 29 January in Quinta Normal, Santiago, beating the previous record of 22.4mm set in 1933.

Elsewhere in the country, Requinoa (O’Higgins Region) recorded 70.3mm of rain, Pirque (Santiago Metropolitan Region) 49.3mm and Longavi (Maule Region) 47mm during the same period.

As of 31 January, Chile’s National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security (ONEMI) reported 521 people staying in temporary shelters. Five houses were reported destroyed, 37 severely damaged, with dozens of others yet to be assessed. As many as 1,353 people were reported isolated in Alto Biobío Commune, Bío Bío Region.

As of 30 January, 170,000 people were without power in the Metropolitan, Valparaíso, O’Higgins and Maule regions. There was also the threat of interruption of drinking water in parts of the Metropolitan Region due to turbidity in the rivers.

Floods in Talca, Maule Region, Chile, January 2021. Photo: Government of Talca

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