Massive flash floods hit Atacama desert, Chile

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Heavy showers on high altitudes in northern Chile have caused dry river beds to become rushing torrents of water over the past couple of days. Major floods across the desert region of Atacama and continued through February 8.

The flooding has left one dead, one child missing and over 1 200 homeless, officials said February 2 but the worst is still not over.

Major floods were reported along the Loa River in Antofagasta on February 7, with some of the major roads flooded and bridges washed away. 

Intense floods caused the collapse of the railway bridge in Loa en Calama on the same day.

In neighboring Peru, the Shocol River in the province of Rodriguez de Mendoza overflowed on February 5, flooding dozens of houses and several hectares of crop fields in the districts of Limabamba, Chirimoto, Totora and Milpuc.

At least 200 families from the traditional district of Quequeña, located in the province of Arequipa, were affected by the heavy rains and hailstorms that fell on February 6, Mayor Laura Lopez Dávalos said.

The rain activated a dry channel in Honda sector, flooding several houses located close to the channel with mud, stones and waste.

Government officials said their agricultural sector was also seriously damaged, mainly purple corn and alfalfa.

Deadly floods and landslides also affecting Bolivia where massive landslides caused multiple deaths.

Featured image: Floods in the Atacama desert on February 2, 2019 – Peru. Credit: CGTN

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