ASUNCION – At least two people died during a powerful storm that hit central and southern Paraguay early Thursday downing power lines and causing damage to hundreds of houses, officials said.
Police reported the deaths of a 61-year-old man in the rural community of Yuty, 350 kilometers (217 miles) southeast of Asuncion, and of a 25-year-old man in the municipality of Luque, very near the Paraguayan capital.
The man who died in Yuty perished when a lightning strike caused a fire and the other man was electrocuted while riding his motorcycle and coming in contact with a live electrical wire that had been knocked down.
The storm, which brought heavy winds and hail, knocked over four high tension towers in the southern province of Misiones, on the border with Argentina, where damage was also reported to many roofs.
About 400 power poles across the country, as well as at least 30 transformers, eight of them in metropolitan Asuncion, were also destroyed, National Electricity Administration, or Ande, representatives said.
In Asuncion and several nearby cities, electric service remains cut off due to the many trees that have fallen onto the power lines, while teams of city and electrical workers are continuing their efforts to clear the streets and restore power to customers.
Assistance is being provided to people affected by the storm, mainly in the southern part of the country, where the bad weather lasted several hours and was the most severe, the emergency management office said. EFE