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Residents gather water from a fire hydrant at a neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Millions are without potable water in Santiago's metropolitan area after floods and mudslides cut supplies. (AP Photo/ Esteban Felix)

Flooding in Chile left millions without water in the nation's capital of Santiago


Heavy rains and landslides hit Santiago, Chile,  over the weekend, leaving millions of people without drinking water. 

At least three people were killed and 19 are still missing after the rains caused rivers to overflow their banks, washing away bridges. 

The mudslides contaminated the Maipo River, which is the city's primary source of drinking water, according to The New York Times.

Aguas Andinas, the company that provides water to Santiago, told The Guardian that the heavy rains have made it difficult to make repairs. The New York Times reports the suspended service affects a total of 5 million people.

In addition, nearly 400 people became stranded in Cajón del Maipo, which is a gorge southeast of Santiago where the Maipo River flows.

“Emergency teams are working on the ground to connect with isolated persons and re-establish the water supply wherever possible,” Chilean president Michelle Bachelet tweeted.

Many of those living in Santiago have resorted to filling buckets with water provided by the authorities. The BBC reports that many stores have run out of bottled water, which has led to scuffles. 

In addition, many public schools in areas near the capital were closed on the first day of the academic school year because of the flooding.

This is the second major flood to hit Chile in the last year. 


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