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Major floods in Chile devastate seven regions

Flooding in central Chile has left vineyards underwater, and a red alert has been issued in some areas of the country, with Maule and Bíobío among the regions affected.

Major floods in Chile devastate seven regions

Footage release by the national authorities reveals rescue missions in central Chile as floods have left seven regions of the country devastated.

A red alert has been issued in some regions of Chile, warning of heavy rain and risk of landslides.

Disaster authorities have reported two people dead and at least six missing following the floods, which began on 23 June, with thousands more left displaced or isolated.

The winemaking regions of Maule and Bíobío have been severely affected, with vineyards reportedly underwater, as well as the areas of Valparaíso, Santiago Metropolitan, O’Higgins, Ñuble and Araucanía, Chile’s disaster agency, Servicio Nacional de Prevención y Respuesta ante Desastres (SENAPRED), has said.

Retiro in the Maule region has recorded 156.6mm of rainfall since the start of the severe weather on 23 June. The region’s average annual rainfall is 735mm, meaning the region has experienced 21% of its yearly average rainfall in just six days. San José de Maipo in Santiago Metropolitan Region recorded 126.4mm of rain, and Concepción in Bíobío Region recorded 97.6mm.

One person has died in Bíobío’s Concepción area, and over 750 people have been left isolated after roads were cut in Alto Bíobío, SENAPRED reported.

Roads have been cut in over 40 locations. Power supply to different areas of central Chile has also been interrupted, and an increase in the flow of the Maipo river in the Valparaiso region has cut off the clean water supply to the communes of San Antonio, Cartagena, El Quisco, El Tabo and Algarrobo.

La Ronciere winery in Licantén, Maule, has listed its vineyard as a safe place for people to gather, and has put a call-out on its Instagram page requesting waterproof boots, toiletries, clean drinking water and household items like cutlery and plates and glasses to be donated.


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A post shared by La Ronciere (@laroncierewines)

Floods across central Chile are the second large-scale natural disaster to devastate the country in 2023, with widespread wildfires in its southern regions causing major losses in the Itata Valley in particular. The fires that swept over southern Chile in early February left 300 hectares of vineyards in cinders, according to official figures.

Winemakers across the country were able to rise above the devastation, but will they be able to do the same in response to the floods?

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