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Death toll climbs to 18 in Chile floods

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 01:12

As Chileans evacuate the region devastated by deadly floods and mudslides, search and rescue workers step up operations. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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The death toll from Chile's recent flooding has risen to 18, with 49 people still missing. Houses were washed away and roads cut off, as unusual downpours slammed the north's Atacama Desert region last week. As emergency workers search for victims...Chile's President Michelle Bachelet vows to finish the job. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MICHELLE BACHELET, CHILEAN PRESIDENT, SAYING: "As a government, we won't cease in our search and rescue work to give peace to the families, to continue opening access, roads and highways, and also, obviously, to re-establish basic services." Government officials say at least 27,000 people have been left homeless. At a bus terminal in the Chilean town of Copiapo, one man says he fears the possible side-effects from contamination. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING: "We are taking the children to the south, to San Felipe, because of the pollution issue, the entire health issue really. We have to take them." Meteorologists say recent downpours were the heaviest in about 80 years.

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Death toll climbs to 18 in Chile floods

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 01:12