Flooding in Chile desert region

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Flooding in Chile desert region -->

Authors: TheIndianSubcontinent News Agency

Flooding in Chile desert region --> The river Copiapo overflowed into the streets of the city

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

Heavy rains in the Andes on Tuesday sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below.

In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks.

The authorities have begun evacuating people using helicopters because of fears of mudslides. More rain is expected.

The government says further heavy rain is expected over the next 12 hours and has described the situation in the desert town of Chanaral as "critical".

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

President Michelle Bachelet cancelled her engagements and said she would fly to Copiapo.

The storms, which began on Tuesday evening, have cut off roads, caused power cuts and severed communications.

Local officials say 38,000 people are without electricity and 48,500 without drinking water.

"Anyone in an at-risk zone in the Atacama region should evacuate," said Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.

The floods come as southern Chile struggles with huge wildfires made worse by a severe drought.