At least 16 people were killed after a fierce storm that brought with it heavy rain and winds of 150 km/h, lashing eastern Argentina, authorities have confirmed.
The storm first made landfall on Saturday in the port city of Bahia Blanca, around 570 km south of Buenos Aires, damaging buildings and causing power outages before moving towards the capital city on Sunday.
Much of the city was left without power and suffered extensive damage.
President Javier Miley expressed his “sincere condolences” to the victims, and his government indicated that it was “monitoring the delicate situation resulting from” the storm that struck Buenos Aires province, with winds “exceeding 150 kilometres per hour.”
The victims were surprised by the storm while a competition was being held at the Bahense del Norte club. According to the authorities, after hitting Bahia Blanca, the storm caused part of the roof of the sports centre to collapse during a roller skating competition, killing 13 people. An additional 14 people were injured, some of whom were trapped beneath the rubble. An orange weather alert, indicating a threat to life and property, was in force in parts of Buenos Aires province. On Sunday, a woman was killed in the town of Moreno, a suburb of Bahia Blanca, when she was hit by a falling tree branch.
Also on Sunday, newly-appointed President Javier Milei travelled to Bahia Blanca with several ministers to survey the damage.
His office said the government was “working together with the provincial and municipal authorities to assist the victims and control the damage.”.
The storm also led to two deaths in neighboring Uruguay.
The National Meteorological Service declared an “orange” alert in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Cordoba and Santa Fe, with rainfall of up to 130 mm, and a “yellow” alert for six other provinces, predicting rainfall of up to 130 mm. Storms advance north.
Buenos Aires Mayor Jorge Macri said that the city of Buenos Aires was exposed early Sunday morning to winds reaching a speed of about 100 kilometres per hour, heavy rain, and a power outage. The capital woke up to 360 downed trees, destroying vehicles, cutting cables, extinguishing public lights and disrupting traffic. The city’s emergency services worked hard.
In the Palermo region, at least three people were injured in the early hours of the morning while attending a concert where a stage collapsed, according to organizers. The emergency service said 13 other people were injured at the Palermo racetrack.
by Isaac Clottey