Chile floods leave more than a million without water

Severe water shortages in Santiago after mudslides caused by torrential rains choked intakes for urban water systems.

    Santiago's water company is working to restore water supply for more than 1.4 million people in the Chilean capital following deadly flooding.

    More than half of the communities in the greater Santiago area and as many as five million people nationwide were affected by the weekend flooding as rocks and other debris choked the intakes for urban water systems.

    Three people died in the torrential rains and landslides that hit central Chile over the weekend, emergency officials said. Nineteen people remain missing.

    Approximately 400 people in the Andes mountain region remain cut off from the outside world.

    The Aguas Andinas water company said on Monday that service had been restored to about 50 percent of the homes and businesses that initially suffered cuts.

    The storms started on Saturday, sending mudslides and rubble surging into the Maipo river, which supplies most homes in the capital of 6.5 million people.

    The decision to cut off the water supply prompted many people to go out with buckets and pans to collect water at some 200 emergency taps opened by the authorities.

    Others rushed to supermarkets to stockpile bottled water.

    Classes in affected schools have been cancelled.

    Mohsin Abbas, the publisher and editor of The Santiago Times, said he expects the flood crisis and the government's ability to deal with emergencies to become election issues later this year.

    He told Al Jazeera that the government is already facing a lot of criticism for its response during the recent wildfires that burned for weeks and killed at least 11 people.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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