Sudden flooding kills at least 46 people in Argentina

LA PLATA, Argentina Wed Apr 3, 2013 10:56pm EDT

1 of 6. Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) visits residents of the Villa Mitre slum affected by floods after heavy rains in Buenos Aires April 3, 2013. At least 46 people were killed in Argentina on Wednesday after a torrential downpour battered the eastern city of La Plata and forced some 2,200 people to flee their homes in search of dry ground.

Credit: Reuters/Agustin Marcarian

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LA PLATA, Argentina (Reuters) - Flash floods killed at least 46 people and forced about 1,500 residents to evacuate the Argentine city of La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires province, government officials said on Wednesday.

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.

The same storm killed at least five people in Buenos Aires, which lies about 60 km (36 miles) northwest of La Plata.

"Families and small children spent the night on their roofs, getting wet. People in wheelchairs were up to their waists in water all night. It was a disaster," Bruno Zorzit, a resident of La Plata, told Reuters Television.

Local media said between 300 and 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) of rain fell in just two hours, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in La Plata and surrounding areas.

President Cristina Fernandez, who grew up near La Plata, visited the flood zone and promised to send more police to calm people's fears that evacuated homes could be looted.

(Reporting by Juan Bustamante; Additional reporting by Alejandro Lifschitz in Buenos Aires; Writing by Hilary Burke)

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