Central and southern Chile on maximum alert due to the arrival of intense rains

Central and southern Chile on maximum alert due to the arrival of intense rains
Central and southern Chile on maximum alert due to the arrival of intense rains

Six regions in central and southern Chile are under maximum meteorological alert due to the arrival in the next few hours of the worst wind and rain front in four decades, according to forecasts from the meteorological authority.

The “alarm”, the highest level of warning to the population issued by the Chilean Meteorological Directorate, affects the regions of Coquimbo, in the north; Valparaíso and Metropolitana, in the center, and O’Higgins, Ñuble and Biobío, in the south.

According to the entity, starting early Thursday morning, intense rainfall will be recorded “in a short period of time.”

“There is no record that this type of alert has been issued for the Metropolitan region,” said Vice Minister of the Interior and Security, Manuel Monsalve, after chairing a meeting of the Disaster Risk Management Committee (Cogrid).

Monsalve announced the suspension of classes in the entire city of Santiago, where almost half of the Chilean population of 20 million inhabitants lives, as well as in the regions of O’Higgins, Coquimbo, Valparaíso and Biobío.

The authorities predict the fall of between 90 and 110 mm of water, and winds of up to 90 km per hour.

Santiago records an average of 286 mm of rain throughout the year and 80 mm in June.

This is the wettest June in Santiago since 1982, the year in which the rains caused 15 deaths and around 4,000 houses affected in the capital, according to official records.

– Flooded streets –

The rains have been hitting the Biobío region for several days, which led the authorities to declare a state of catastrophe on Tuesday due to the overflowing of rivers and the flooding of streets. Nearly fifty residents of the area have been affected by the rainfall.

The presidential delegate of the region, Daniela Dresdner, told Radio Bío Bío that this is the worst storm “in around 50 years.”

The authorities of Viña del Mar are alert for the possible collapse of a 12-story building and 200 apartments in the Reñaca sector. The rains this weekend caused a sinkhole 15 meters long and 30 meters deep under the property.

Some 147 people have been evacuated from the area in recent days, including residents of nearby buildings.

“Everyone evacuated, for safety,” Sergio Silva, 73, a resident of the property, where most of the apartments are used for vacation purposes, told AFP.

The property is built on a field of sand dunes in front of the beach, an area in which luxury apartments have proliferated.

In September four buildings in the area were affected by a sinkhole. Work continues to fill the hole with material.

bur-pa/ag/axl/dga

 
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