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World's driest Atacama desert in Chile hit by flash floods

Flash floods in Chile's Atacama desert, one of the driest regions in the world, have left thousands of people without electricity or water.

Chile's government has declared a state of emergency for the Atacama desert region after heavy rainfall triggered flooding in the region.

No deaths have been reported but at least one person is missing, FOX News quoted Deputy interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy as saying.

atacama_desert_chile_flood
The river Copiapo overflowed into the streets of the city (Photo: AFP via BBC News).
According to BBC, the swollen Copiapo River forced the evacuation of people. Heavy rains in the Andes on Tuesday sent floodwater down into the valleys.

The heavy rainfall has affected areas in the regions of Antofagasta, Copiapo and Coquimbo. A health alert has been declared in these zones.  The military has been deployed to Copiapo to help with the emergency.

More heavy rainfall is predicted over the next 12 hours.

Rare snowstorm hit Atacama desert in August 2013. Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world.

Original post: Natural Disasters List March 26, 2015

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