Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thousands flee Chile floods

Four people have died and 5,000 have been forced out of their homes in south central Chile due to flooding. Rivers burst their banks on Thursday as heavy rain fell around the port area of Valparaiso.

Two of the dead lost their lives in landslides, a third was hit by a boulder and the fourth by a falling tree. Roads were impassable after more than 90mm of rain fell in a 24-hour period.

Hundreds of people were displaced into temporary shelters. Others found refuge with neighbouring friends and relatives. There was further flooding in the Maule region south of the capital, Santiago, an important area for agriculture. Here, the Lontue river burst its banks.

Heavy rains are an annual occurrence and frequently cause floods during the autumn.