*** ----> State of ‘catastrophe’ as downpours hit Chile | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

State of ‘catastrophe’ as downpours hit Chile

AFP | Santiago

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Heavy rains battered south and central Chile on Thursday, killing one person and causing damage to hundreds of homes as authorities declared a state of catastrophe in five regions of the South American country.

A person died in the southern city of Linares when a street lamp post fell after hours-long downpours and strong winds, the Senapred disaster response service said.

In the latest official report, Interior Minister Carolina Toha said “the worst of this frontal system is behind us, but we cannot let our guard down.”

Earlier in the day, Chile’s weather service issued the highest level of alarm, covering around 14 million of the 20 million people living in six of the country’s 16 regions, but this was later lifted as authorities said 80 percent of the storm had passed, and was headed for neighboring Argentina.

Prior to the arrival of the flood waters, Chile’s central region had battled severe drought for 15 years.

“We need boats to get people out,” a resident in one of the affected towns, Curanilahue, told national television.