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Argentina mourns as flooding death toll rises to 55

April 04, 2013|By Emily Alpert
  • People embrace outside a club where the Red Cross set up a center to help flood victims in La Plata, Argentina, on Thursday.
People embrace outside a club where the Red Cross set up a center to help flood… (Natacha Pisarenko / Associated…)

As the waters receded Thursday, Argentina mourned scores of people killed in floods that raged through Buenos Aires province, knocking out power and forcing thousands to evacuate.

Gov. Daniel Scioli told reporters in Argentina that the death toll in the area of La Plata had risen to 49, while 20 more people were missing. Six other lives were lost in earlier flooding in the city of Buenos Aires, according to the Associated Press, including a subway worker who was electrocuted and an elderly woman who drowned inside her home.

The flooding wreaked mayhem across the area, deluging homes, crippling the Spanish Hospital and spurring a fire at a major La Plata refinery.  The YPF energy company said the blaze had been contained Thursday and had not caused any injuries or deaths.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner declared three days of national mourning Wednesday as she visited areas stricken by flooding, including the La Plata neighborhood of Tolosa where she grew up.

Some hugged the president, but in footage of the visit captured by La Nacion, other residents derided the government's handling of the crisis as shameful and started chanting for Fernandez to leave.

The newspaper Clarin later reported that though Scioli said government centers were providing bottled water, mattresses, blankets and other necessities, there was no sense of mobilization on the streets of La Plata, where “protests over lagging help are growing in impatience.”


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