Santiago, Dec 17: At least two people died and another eight were missing after a landslide hit near the city of Chaiten in southern Chile, the government said on Saturday.
“There are two dead people, a 35-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, and eight missing people, a policeman and seven civilians, as a result of the landslide,” Mahmud Aleuy, Deputy Minister of the Interior, was quoted as saying.
He added that three others were hurt in the incident and that they were being treated at hospitals in Chaiten.
The tragedy occurred on Saturday morning in the small village of Villa Santa Lucia, with 160 inhabitants, around 90 kilometre from Chaiten.
Aleuy said that due to intense rains, a landslide happened at 9:10 a.m. on the side of a hill, hitting about 20 homes.
“Excessive rain, 122 millimetres in 12 hours, with unusually high temperatures. There was no river flooding, what happened was excessive rain,” added the minister.
The Chilean airforce has dispatched two helicopters to search for signs of the disappeared.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet expressed her concern about the tragedy and said that rescue efforts were under way.
“I am very worried by the situation…in Villa Santa Lucia. The government, through emergency protocols and organisations, is already working to attend to those affected,” Bachelet wasquoted as saying.