Bloomberg — Chilean President Gabriel Boric declared a state of catastrophe in parts of central Chile on Monday after a winter hot spell ended with torrential rains, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people and killing two.
The state of catastrophe will allow the government to divert funds and assistance to the regions of O’Higgins, Maule, Ñuble and Bio Bio, Boric said in televised comments.
He went on to warn that environmental disasters will become more common due to global warming.
“We have to get used to them because they will become more frequent,” the president said. “We have to adapt and make substantive changes to the way we understand our territory.”
Rains have forced the evacuation of more than 33,000 people and damaged more than 800 homes, according to data from the government.
The El Niño weather phenomenon has led to a increase in rainfall in Chile this year compared to previous years. However, rains in central Chile are still about 20% lower than average. Warmer temperatures at the southern hemisphere winter have led to more rainfall at higher altitudes, melting snowpack and leading to the floods.
Rains caused the destruction of a bridge in the region of Maule.
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