At least forty-six people have reportedly died after a quick and powerful storm led to flash flooding in and around Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Now we are facing the worst part of the situation,” said Buenos Aires Provincial Governor Daniel Scioli after approximately a foot of rain fell in only three hours.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s unprecedented”, added Scioli who warned that the death toll would likely rise as more corpses are found from the gradually receding waters.
Some 2,500 people have been evacuated from their homes while about 290,000 residences are without electricity. Meanwhile, hundreds of people in La Plata are trapped in houses, businesses and train stations as they desperately wait to be rescued.
“I’m stuck in my car since six o’clock Tuesday night with a ten-month-old baby. We’re flooded, the batter is dead, there’s no light and nobody is coming to help,” said Vanesa Silleti according to Clarin.com.
The storm, which Buenos Aires official claim was the heaviest April rainfall in a century, flooded the city’s oil refinery. Firefighters took about nine hours to put out a blaze at the facility, which was caused by said "an extraordinary accumulation of rainwater and power outages in the entire refinery complex."
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner visited several flood-ravaged zones on Wednesday where she tried to provide support by explaining how her house was flooded when she was a child.
Residents in the La Plata neighborhood of Tolosa cheered and jeered the president who tried to comfort them.
“You’re the only one who has come to help us!” exclaimed one person while another replied, “My wife is dead but yours was saved!”
Local meteorologists warned that the flooded areas could be affected by strong yet isolated thunderstorms that could occur later this week.
The wild weather has hit other areas of Latin America and the Caribbean such as Brazil where at least twenty-seven people died in landslides last month. In Haiti, the U.N. issued a warning of increased malnutrition as a result of recent storms:
The United Nations said Tuesday that a growing number of people in Haiti are not getting enough to eat following a heavy storm season that damaged food crops.
The humanitarian department of the U.N. mission in the Caribbean nation of 10 million people said in its monthly bulletin that a spike in malnutrition has been recorded in some areas since October. At least one in five households faces a serious food deficit and acute malnutrition despite efforts to reduce hunger, the study said.Video Source– YouTube via users euronews and TVPublicaArgentina
Online Sources – BBC News, La Nacion, Huffington Post, Clarin.com