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Floods worsen in northern Chile as govt pledges rebuild funds

By BNamericas Monday, February 11, 2019

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Heavy rains pummeling Chile's northernmost regions worsened over the weekend as President Sebastián Piñera visited affected areas, where he stated that the national government has earmarked over 60bn pesos (US$91mn) to rebuild and repair infrastructure, while additional funds will be provided for housing.

According to national emergencies office Onemi, on Monday the areas on red alert were Arica y Parinacota region, Tamarugal province in Tarapacá region, and Loa province and the capital city of Antofagasta region. While on Friday Piñera declared El Loa as a disaster area.

Meanwhile, the public works ministry (MOP) was working to regain connectivity in some areas where sinkholes were seen and roads under water, while a total of 1,200 houses were damaged, the presidencial office stated in a release.

On Sunday, Onemi stated that the number of fatalities had increased to six. Meanwhile, in Calama, which had been affected by a prolonged water cut, utility Aguas Antofagasta said on its website that on Friday night, after nearly a week of cuts, services were finally resumed for 100% of residents.

As regards the reconstruction efforts, public works undersecretary Lucas Palacios told Radio Duna that the plan to repair infrastructure will last approximately 18 months.

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