SANTIAGO – A violent storm last weekend in the mountains of central Chile left three people dead, 28 missing, 680 isolated and two homes destroyed, the Onemi emergency management office reported on Tuesday.
The storm front also cut off the supply of drinking water to the Santiago metropolitan region and so affected more than 5 million people, though the Aguas Andinas company which provides the service said Tuesday that it has managed to restore 90 percent of the supply.
Sometime later, however, the water supply was again interrupted in a number of communities, according to complaints by local inhabitants to different radio stations.
People are still waiting in long lines to reach the tanker trucks the company has made available to distribute drinking water.
Meanwhile, the Esval company, responsible for distributing drinking water in the Valparaiso region, announced that the supply will be cut off this Tuesday in the towns of Quilpue, Villa Alemana and Viña del Mar, due to the increased murkiness of the Aconcagua River.
The cut affects some 120,000 residents in those towns.
In Santiago, despite the Aguas Andinas announcement, parts of the municipalities of Providencia, La Reina, Peñalolen and Puente Alto continue without water, with some 50,000 people affected.
The company said that while in some areas the drinking water supply is back to normal, there could be “a small sector without service.” It also asked the public to avoid consuming water unless absolutely necessary.
The Chilean army, meanwhile, deployed scores of troops to search through the mud and water for the bodies of 30 missing persons that authorities believe were swept away by the floods.
Several army helicopters and others of a private company operated tirelessly throughout the day trying to rescue the people still isolated in the mountains.
Onemi announced that it is maintaining a red alert throughout Cordillera province east of Santiago due to the rainstorms, and a red alert for the interruption of drinking water in the province of Santiago and the towns of San Bernardo and Puente Alto.