December 20, 2014
Rains kill 5 in Catamarca
A mudslide killed five people in Catamarca province while at least eight others remained missing after the storm that on Thursday night lashed the towns of El Rodeo and Siján.
At press time last night there were unconfirmed reports of at least two more fatalities.
According to Norberto Bazán, who heads the SAME assistance team, there are six people injured: five adults and a baby.
El Rodeo, located 36 kilometres from the provincial capital, was the most affected. There the storm dragged houses, cars and even a bridge. Two of the fatal victims there were two school girls, one aged 5 and the other 7, who were on a camping near the banks of the river Ambato along with their families. A 25 year-old man also died. A 80-year-old man was also found dead in Siján, the town located 150 kilometres from the provincial capital of San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca. In Siján, three people were reported as missing.
At press time, rescue teams were searching for five women and three children.
“Those who we are looking for were camping in the area. What happened here is that the river overflowed in an instant, dragging one of the town’s bridges and reaching the place where visitors were staying,” said Rodrigo González, the government’s spokesman.
More than 200 people had to be evacuated and taken to different shelters because their homes were destroyed.
“This area has houses and a camping site, where many people come during summer holidays but this turned into a real hell,” a woman said in conversations with the state-run news agency Télam.
Security Minister Cecilia Rodríguez travelled yesterday to Catamarca to partake in the “crisis committee.” When she was appointed in December, Rodríguez was criticized because she had no experience in crime control but she specializes in dealing with emergencies and disaster. She has experience in El Salvador, Haiti, Kosovo and Panama.
Herald with Télam