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Argentine Heavy Rains, Flooding Leave at Least 52 Dead

Two days of heavy rains in Buenos Aires city and in La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires province, have left at least 52 dead and required the evacuation of thousands of residents.

At least 46 people died in Buenos Aires, Governor Daniel Scioli told reporters today. Television showed images of ruined homes and flooded neighborhoods. More than 250,000 people in the city of Buenos Aires are without power. Rescue teams used boats to evacuate residents.

“It was an unprecedented tragedy,” Scioli told reporters today in La Plata.

Almost 200 millimeters (7.8 inches) of rain, which represents more than the region’s monthly average, fell in La Plata in the last 48 hours, said Pablo Mercuri, director of the Weather and Water Institute at the National Institute of Agriculture Technology.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner canceled a presentation scheduled for today at 6 p.m. local time and traveled to La Plata, where she met with residents and toured the flooded areas.

“When I was a kid, my house got flooded, so I know what it means to lose everything,” Fernandez said from La Plata, her hometown. Fernandez signed a decree declaring three days of mourning for the victims, according to the presidential website.

Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires will provide subsidies and loans to aid residents affected by the flooding, Scioli said.

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