Massive storms in Chile have left at least five people dead, officials announced on 9 August. The heavy rains and winds also forced the precautionary suspension of work in some of the country's copper mines.
Three people were reportedly killed in northern Chile, which has been hit by strong winds, torrential rains and mudslides, Fox News Latino reported. Authorities have announced a state of emergency in the northern cities of Antofagasta and Tocopilla due to the extreme weather.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is expected to travel to Antofagasta and Tocopilla early Monday (10 August) morning, 24Horas reported. The Chilean Navy announced on Twitter that marines had been deployed to Tocopilla to provide aid.
Nearly 1,000 people have been evacuated from Tocopilla, according to Fox News Latino. Ricardo Toro, the director of the national emergency management office, said a 4-year-old girl and two adults were killed in the city.
During a news conference at the national emergency management office, Interior Minister Jorge Burgos said Brigadier General Claudio Hernandez Muños was in charge of coordinating the storm response.
Another two people died in the cities of Valparaiso and Coquimbo on 8 August. According to Fox News Latino, strong waves destroyed over 100 small boats in Coquimbo, while the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar were hit by 30-foot waves.
According to 24Horas, several municipalities have suspended classes due to the severe storms.
Copper Mines closed
Reuters reported that after months of drought, the torrential rains have provided much-needed relief for farmers and ski resort owners, but has caused trouble for Chile's key copper mines.
Codelco, the leading copper exporter of the world, announced it had suspended operations at its second largest mine Chuquicamata. The state-owned company said that it had temporarily stopped operations at the Radomiro Tomic mine but had since resumed work.