BUENOS AIRES – Two minors died and close to 20,000 people were evacuated Friday in northeastern Argentina due to the flooding of the rain-swollen Uruguay, Parana and Paraguay Rivers.
One of the fatalities was a 4-year-old boy found lifeless Thursday night in a stream that runs through the town of Villa Gobernador Galvez, Santa Fe provincial Security Minister Maximiliano Pullaroa said on Twitter.
Though still awaiting results of the autopsy, investigators suspect that the child, for whom the search has been on since last Tuesday, fell in the Saladillo stream near his home, was swept away by the current and drowned.
The second victim was a boy of 13 who was electrocuted when he touched a high-tension wire blown down by the storm in the city of Corrientes, capital of the like-named province.
The overflowing rivers also forced some 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. Meanwhile emergency operations are underway to provide drinking water, food, medicine and shelter to those now homeless.
Almost half the evacuees are staying in shelters, schools, gyms and the homes of family and friends in Concordia in Entre Rios province, which suffered its worst floods in half a century.
Provincial Social Development Minister Guillermo Echenausse warned that the Uruguay River could rise above 17 meters (56 feet) in Concordia. “Ten meters (33 feet) above normal,” which would double the present number of evacuees.
Another of the provinces slammed by storms was Chaco, where some 1,500 families were evacuated from several towns flooded by the Parana River, which on Friday rose some 7.5 meters (25 feet).
The same river also flooded entire neighborhoods in the neighboring province of Santa Fe, where the number of people affected could rapidly climb in the coming hours if it becomes necessary to evacuate the 3,000 residents of Reconquista.