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3 million without drinking water after landslides contaminate rivers, Chile

3-million-without-drinking-water-after-landslides-contaminate-rivers-chile

About three million people were left without drinking water in Santiago metropolitan area, Chile on April 16 after heavy rain caused landslides that contaminated rivers supplying the city. Officials declared a red alert in the city.

Severe weather in the Andean foothills that started on April 15 triggered landslides into the Maipo and Mapocho rivers. This increased sediment in the Maipo River, Santiago's main water source, effectively cutting off water for about three million people. Supermarkets throughout the area are reportedly sold out of bottled water.

According to Aguas Andinas water company, which supplies water to 70% of Santiago, the production was down to 35% of normal levels.

In the O'Higgins region 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Santiago, the swollen Tinguiririca River left one person missing and about 100 homes damaged, AFP reported. 

Four municipalities in the region were also on red alert.

Santiago experienced a similar contamination of Maipo River in January 2013 when two million of its residents were left without drinking water.

Featured image: Maipo River, Chile. Credit: Nicolas Figueroa Peña (CC – Flickr)

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