Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chile Flood: About 350 people in northern Atacama region, were left the ...



About 350 people in Chile's northern Atacama region were left isolated as torrential rains pummelled the region on Sunday (January 22), local media reported. According to local media reports, the Chollay River burst its banks, causing mudslides in the ravines of Canuto and Zorra Muerta. Chile's National Emergency Office (ONEMI) said 350 people remain isolated from the town of Chollay, to the commune of Alto del Carmen and inland. Forty families are located in the Quebrada Colpe sector and five families in the La Pampa sector.
Additionally, two houses were destroyed and another four suffered major damages. Mud-filled roads have prevented emergency workers from accessing the area to asses damage to another 50 homes, local media reported.Cars and roads were completely buried by thick mud and clay.

Chollay town resident, Angela Tapia, explained that it all happened very quickly.
"It was something of great magnitude, everything that happened. We were scared because the mudslide was coming down quickly along what used to be the road. We decided to leave and head to the hill with my family," Tapia said.Another resident, Alberto Bordones, said his house was now completely covered by mud. "Everything, everything, nothing was left, we left with only the clothes on our backs. Last year in March, April, the ravines collapsed but it was not as bad," Bordones said. Residents lost all of their belongings. Electrical appliances, furniture and cars were seen stuck in the mud. "When I arrived from down there, there was already mud in my house. We weren't able to do anything," said an unidentified resident.

Tapia explained that her uncle, together with four small children, had been cut off in Zorra Muerta. Relatives have been unable to reach them to see how they are doing. "My uncle lives in an area called Zorra Muerta and it's further up. He's completely isolated and with two small girls and two nephews. We are worried because we really don't know how to get there due to the mudslides," Tapia said. A red alert for the region has been declared and drinking water supply has been interrupted for the whole town of Chollay.

Six people are staying at a make-shift shelter at a school in Chollay, the mayor of Alto del Carmen, Carmen Bou, explained but added local authorities need to contact isolated communities. "The mud again is covering the roads and it's very important for us to have connectivity with the community," Bou said. Meanwhile, 64 people remain isolated in the region of Tarapaca, due to intense rainfall in nearby-mountain ranges. According to local media, nine people were isolated in the sector of Quipisca, due to roads being flooded. Dozens of others have also been cut off in the sector of Parca, in the commune of Pozo Almonte and the town of Huatacondo. Local authorities are now working to clear the roads from slushy mud with the use of heavy machinery, local media reported.

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