5 dead, major damage as storm blasts South America
A fierce storm packing winds up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour blasted through the heart of South America early today, killing 5 people in Paraguay and wreaking havoc in Argentina and Uruguay.world Updated: Sep 19, 2012 23:03 IST
A fierce storm packing winds up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour blasted through the heart of South America on early Wednesday, killing five people in Paraguay and wreaking havoc in Argentina and Uruguay.
In Paraguay's Roque Alonso suburb, devastated by the storm, four police cadets died when the roof of their dormitory collapsed, while 15 others were hurt.
And a 16-year-old boy died at a shopping center in the town when a water tank collapsed on him outside a pharmacy. Police also reported looting after the storm.
"Roque Alonso has to be rebuilt all over again," police commander Heriberto Marmol said.
Dozens of injured people flooded hospitals in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, and monstrous traffic jams formed in parts of the city.
A crowd of thousands braved torrential rain for a concert by the rock band Scorpions only to see the show cancelled.
Nationwide, at least 5,000 homes were destroyed, said Aldo Saldivar of the national emergency response center.
To the south, in Argentina and Uruguay, the wind was only slightly less fierce, at 100 kilometers (62 mph) per hour.
No one was killed, and in metropolitan Buenos Aires only 26 people were evacuated.
But in some towns of the northeast Argentine province of Misiones, 80 percent of homes were left without power. Trees were toppled and roofs blown away.
And in Uruguay, fallen trees cut off roads and shopping centers were shut down. Three people were reported hurt, two of them when a bus hit a toppled tree.