December 21, 2014
Death toll rises to 13 in Catamarca
Three days after a fierce mudslide, 12 people remain missing
Thirteen people according to a provisional count died during a mudslide in the northern Catamarca province following a storm that on Thursday night lashed the towns of El Rodeo and Siján.
Yesterday, rescue groups found the lifeless body of a woman, while the Emergency Committee spokesman, Dr. Norberto Bazán, confirmed that 12 people were still missing.
The dead woman was identified as 30-year-old Romina Julieta Silva, who was found on the Los Nogales site near the Ambato river. She was supposedly dragged by the mudslide in El Rodeo.
With Silva, the death toll in that summer resort town that is 36 kilometres from the provincial capital reached 10.
Traffic along the provincial routes 4 and 16 was still restricted yesterday, and only residents, official vehicles or rescue groups were allowed through.
The other three dead people were found in other cities after last Thursday’s storm, including two school girls — one aged 5 and the other 7 — who were camping near the Ambato river with their families. Days ago, an 80-year-old man was found dead in Siján, a town located 150 kilometres from San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca, the province’s capital.
The search by the Catamarca police was now focused on the La Puerta town along with provincial forces from Córdoba, San Luis, Entre Ríos and Salta.
The Defence Ministry led by Agustín Rossi has installed a water purification plant in the area, while Army officers were helping to reconstruct the properties of those affected. Agustina Brea, the official in charge of the disaster relief department, was leading the efforts, state-run news agency Télam reported.
Governor Lucía Corpacci was at the site along with the federal Security Minister Cecilia Rodríguez and the deputy minister of Social Development, Carlos Montaña.
“This was a disaster, but we will reconstruct all affected areas,” Corpacci said.
Hours after the episode, a woman revealed details of the site.
“This area has houses and a camping site, where many people come during summer holidays but this turned into a real hell,” she said.
Herald staff with Télam