Photo: Rains at La Plata region, Buenos Aires
The death toll from the heavy rains that have recently fallen on Buenos Aires and nearby parts of the country now stands at 41, Argentine authorities said Wednesday.
Thirty-five of the fatalities were registered in heavy flooding in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli said, stressing the priority of “saving the lives that can be saved.”
“The priority is human (life), after which the material damage will be evaluated and how those affected can be helped to recover what they’ve lost,” he said.
“Nothing like it has ever been seen before. So, the people have been surprised in the worst way and some did not have time to be able to escape this fatal trap,” Scioli said.
The governor said that boats and helicopters are being mobilized to rescue the people who took refuge from floodwaters in trees or on the roofs of houses.
In some neighborhoods of La Plata, the provincial capital, the water was more than 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) deep.
“The situation is very complex,” said Scioli, who added that the schools have been established as evacuation centers.
Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni said that more than 3,000 people have been evacuated and warned that authorities are not ruling out an increase in the death toll in La Plata as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
In the city of Buenos Aires, six people died and about 300 were evacuated, according to municipal emergency-services chief Alberto Crescenti.