At least 54 people drowned in their homes and cars, were electrocuted or died in other accidents as flooding from days of torrential rains swamped Buenos Aires and the nearby university city of La Plata in Argentina. 1,500 persons have also been displaced as flash floods devastate communities in Buenos Aires.
Following the deaths, Argentina have declared three days of national mourning.
Some people drowned after being trapped in their cars or while walking along city streets when the water rose suddenly on Tuesday night, while others were electrocuted, provincial governor Daniel Scioli told reporters on Wednesday.
Many people climbed onto their roofs in the pouring after storm sewers backed up. Water surged up through drains in their kitchen and bathroom floors, and then poured in over their windowsills.
“It started to rain really hard in the evening, and began to flood,” said Augustina Garcia Orsi, a 25-year-old student. “I panicked. In two seconds, I was up to my knees in water. It came up through the drains – I couldn’t do anything.”
Local media reports put the volume of rain that fell in just two hours at 300-400 mm, flooding low-lying neighbourhoods in La Plata and surrounding areas.