Eight dead, 15,000 evacuated in Argentina, Uruguay

Buenos Aires, Nov 27 (DPA) Severe flooding claimed at least eight lives in Argentina and Uruguay, authorities said Thursday.

About 15,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the northern portions of both neighbouring South American countries.

In Argentina, two young men drowned in an overflowing river Wednesday, while a child was killed by a mudslide at his home. On Thursday, a rescue worker and another young man were killed when they tried to swim across a swollen river.

Three people drowned in Uruguay.

The Argentine provinces of Chaco, Corrientes and Entre Rios and the Uruguayan provinces of Artigas, Salto and Paysandu on the Brazilian border were the hardest hit.

The heavy rain of recent days followed months of drought in northeastern Argentina. Environmental experts have long warned that deforestation in the country’s warmest areas would make the climate more extreme, with more droughts and more flooding.

Forests have been cut in large areas that are now devoted to agriculture, growing mostly soybeans, reducing the soil’s water-carrying capacity.