Latin America & Caribbean

Chile: Landslide destroys village and kills at least five

Damage done by a landslide is seen in Villa Santa Lucia, Los Lagos, Chile December 16, 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The area in Chile's lake district is sparsely populated

A landslide caused by torrential rain has killed at least five people in southern Chile and has destroyed dozens of houses.

Fifteen people are missing in the remote village of Villa Santa Lucía in the country's lake region, popular with tourists.

President Michelle Bachelet has declared a state of emergency in the area.

Thousands remain without electricity and cut off from the rest of Chile.

"I have ordered rescue workers to put all the resources necessary towards protecting the people of Villa Santa Lucia," said Ms Bachelet.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Most of the village was destroyed by the landslide

Part of the valley where the village lies, some 1,100km (690 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, was engulfed by a huge amount of mud from surrounding mountains.

Local media reported that the region had experienced unusually heavy rain for the previous 24 hours.

Dozens of people have been airlifted and taken to the neighbouring town of Chaitén.

Rescue teams are searching for survivors.

The village is near Corcovado National Park, popular with tourists for its volcanoes, fjords and forests.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The mud has blocked roads linking the area to the rest of Chile

The mudslide happened on Saturday morning, on the eve of the run-off election to choose Chile's next president.

The authorities say the vote is going ahead as planned.

Some 14 million Chileans are eligible to choose between the centre-right candidate, Sebastián Piñera, and Alejandro Guillier, who is endorsed by Ms Bachelet.

Related Topics