LA PLATA, ARGENTINA (April 5, 2013) – At least one member of an Evangelical Covenant Church of Argentina congregation has been killed and others have had their homes damaged or destroyed by a storm that overwhelmed this city, which is the capital of the Province of Buenos Aires, said David Mark, Evangelical Covenant Church co-regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Catastrophic flooding killed at least 51 people in La Plata and another six individuals in the surrounding area, according to new sources. Thousands have been left homeless.
Many Covenant people experienced losses and damage, Mark said late Thursday night. Evelina Piñeyro, daughter of Covenant pastor Elía Piñeyro, reported more than eight feet of water in her house at the height of the flooding.
“Since most folks’ kitchens, living rooms and many bedrooms are on ground floors, water damage from the flooding has been extensive,” Mark said. “Many report destroyed mattresses and the loss of warm clothing and shoes.”
Some 2,500 people have been evacuated to shelters in La Plata, and Covenant churches in the area are helping to locate displaced people, Mark said.
Government officials said that 16 inches of rain fell on La Plata in just two hours on Tuesday night. Daniel Scioli, the provincial governor, told media, “We’ve never seen anything like it. People were taken by surprise, and some didn’t have time to escape this deadly trap.”
The rains have stopped, and the waters have receded. Utilities and access to clean water are slowly being restored. Communication has been intermittent, but roads appear to be passable again, Mark said.