Chile’s government says 17 people have been killed and 20 are still missing after torrential rains caused flooding in a northern desert region.
The heavy rains last week swelled rivers and led to flash-flooding that also caused power outages and blocked roads.
President Michelle Bachelet’s spokesman announced Monday that the government will provide nearly $10 million to the flood-hit areas.
The precipitation in the northern desert city of Antofagasta was dramatically abnormal. From Wednesday to Thursday morning, about an inch of rain fell in an area that typically receives only about 0.07 inches of rain in a year, according to Chile’s meteorological service.
Communities in the desert region are digging houses out of the mud and working to reopen roads after the floods pummeled several cities. Interior Sub-secretary Mahmud Aleuy said roads had been cut to over 40 communities, many of which did not have access to potable water or electricity.