Floods destroy 80% of the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina

Floods destroy 80% of the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina

Comodoro Rivadavia, a city in the Patagonian province of Chubut in southern Argentina, is estimated to have experienced an "80% destruction" after it suffered a week of historic torrential rains and strong winds. Within just a few days the city experienced more rain that it usually receives in 12 months.

Floods and mudslides swept away bridges and parts of roads and major highways after heavy rains started on March 29 and continued without a break for several days. Thousands have been evacuated and at least 2 000 made homeless.

Between Thursday, March 30 and Sunday, April 2, the city recorded 317 mm (12.5 inches) of rain which is more than its yearly average (229 mm / 9 inches). "Over the past 24 hours, the city has already accumulated 45 mm (1.77 inches) of rain," the National Meteorological Service said today and added that further 70 to 120 mm (2.75 - 4.72 inches) can be expected before the rain is over.

City councilor Carlos Linares described the devastation as a 'climatic crisis' and warned there might be worse to come. Army engineers' battalion sent to set up bridges and repair highways said the city is estimated to have experienced and 80% destruction, MercoPress reported.

Mud and water continue to cover most of the city's streets and emergency centers have been set up at schools, churches, clubs, neighbor centers, with hundreds waiting for daily rations, clothing but most desperately, praying for the end of rain and the return of sunshine, MP added. Houses in three neighborhoods are under a meter deep mud, and a road linking to the city has seen 3 km (1.9 miles) completely washed away.

The Chico river, 150 km (93 miles) from Comodoro which is normally dry, is now 0.4 km (0.24 miles) wide and flowing strongly, something which did not happen since 1970.

Schools of Commodore and Rada Tilly, a city 10 km (6.2 miles) to the south, will remain closed at least until Monday, the provincial Ministry of Education said.

The country's south is not the only region suffering extreme rain and flooding. Across the country, particularly in its central and northern regions, heavy rain and floods have affected more than 26 000 people and forced the evacuation of at least 8 000 over the past two weeks. At least 4 people were killed.

Featured image: Flood rescue operations in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina - April 2017. Credit: HD 26

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