World Bulletin/News Desk
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.
Catalonia police spokesman Josep Lluis Trapero added that a driver who mowed down crowds of pedestrians in the first attack in a busy Barcelona street Thursday could be among five suspects later shot dead in a nearby city.
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For his part, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told RTL radio that "the number of those who have been seriously injured may perhaps be even higher at around 17."
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Death toll feared to rise due to severe conditions of the many injured
The pickup truck, which had an improvised white wooden trailer constructed over the back, was transporting them in "overcrowded and unsanitary conditions," said a state police report seen by AFP.
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The van attack that mowed down pedestrians on Barcelona's most famous street on Thursday killing at least 13 people was the latest fatal assault on a European city.
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