At least 54 people have lost their lives and thousands have been left homeless after days of heavy rains caused flash floods in and around Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, officials say.
In La Plata, a city about 40 miles (60 kilometers) south of Buenos Aires, 46 people were reported to have died after more than 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain fell in just a few hours late Tuesday into Wednesday, AFP reported.
“Such intense rain in so little time has left many people trapped in their cars, in the streets, in some cases electrocuted. We are giving priority to rescuing people who have been stuck in trees or on the roofs of their homes,” said Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province.
La Plata “has never seen anything equal” to this disaster, he added, noting that “the bodies began to appear as the water subsided.
The flooding also claimed eight lives in Buenos Aires after the heaviest April rainfall in more than a century fell between ate Monday and early. More downpours were expected through at least Thursday.
The downpour knocked out power and phone lines and disrupted services, closing schools and local government offices.
Around 280,000 people in Buenos Aires province were still cut off from electricity on Wednesday, according to Planning Minister Julio De Vido said.
Around 2,200 victims have been evacuated from La Plata, a city of 750,000.
President Christina Kirchner made a surprise visit to the region Wednesday to survey the devastation in person.
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