Chile

The man with the megaphone: profile of a community hero

A “tsunami of mud” accurately describes the mudslides that raced down the Andes on 24 March, leaving residents stranded in two desert regions in northern Chile.

It is impossible to calculate the magnitude of the huge mass of water and dirt that crossed the Atacama Desert – one of the world’s most arid regions. In the place where it never rains, the mudslide quickly turned the landscape apocalyptical. In some places, the river, which is more of a dry riverbed, turned into a mass of water 1 km wide and 2 metres deep. Its strength and speed were so great, it ripped apart entire houses, dragging them for miles, and destroyed entire mining towns in the north of the country.

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