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Argentina and Uruguay were pummelled by heavy rains and strong winds

Several regions of Argentina and Uruguay were pummelled by heavy rains and strong winds this week with water levels reaching over 150 millimetres (5.9 inches) in some areas. Residents waded through flooded streets in Santa Fe, Argentina, dumping water on an area already hit by heavy storms at the end of December, with 310 millimetres (12.2 inches) of rain in just one week. "There is so much water, it almost comes up to your waist. It is a very big flood. Look, I have suffered and we have suffered many floods, four or five of them, but this is the largest we´ve seen," said a local resident. "There are 40 centimetres (15.7 inches) of water in my house at the moment, it is a disaster," added another.

A community leader in the Ramona neighbourhood said 20 families had to evacuate their houses and were sheltered in local sports and cultural centres. Further evacuations are expected throughout the region. Authorities in Uruguay said 17 people had been injured in the storms, and winds in the capital, Montevideo, had reached up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour. CCTV footage released by the city government showed tree branches falling on cars on the road and a portable toilet being dragged down the street by the winds. An orange alert was emitted in 11 departments, and the Ministry of the Interior said 1206 emergency calls had been made in three and a half hours on Wednesday (January 4), 40 percent of which were due to storm damage.

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