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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Death Toll Rises in Argentina Flood Catastrophe

23 people have been officially reported dead in Santa Fe province flooding
However, dozens of people are thought to be missing and authorities expect more bodies to be found as waters start to recede.

As the Salado River recedes after flooding 70% of Santa Fe's capital city in northeast Argentina, local authorities have a clearer picture of the dramatic outcome of the disaster. More and more bodies are being found in areas that remained underwater for a week and slowly began to appear this weekend.

The official death toll in Santa Fe reached 23 on Monday. However, some sources in the province confirmed to the press that they have identified over 40 bodies and expect more as waters recede. In fact, there are dozens of people missing and authorities fear that many of them have died.

Today, one week since the outbreak of the heavy rains and rising river, a third of the city is still under water and many neighbors are waiting out the flooding on the rooftops of their homes. The Army and the Red Cross have been delivering aid to them by boat and to the evacuation centers that are housing over 100,000 people.

The people on the rooftops do not want to go to the centers for safety reasons. They are afraid of groups of robbers that break into abandoned houses to loot as much as they can after the owners leave to look for a safe place. There are also reports of some trucks carrying food and medicines being hijacked by robbers.

According to specialists, it is possible that many of the affected areas of the city will remain uninhabitable forever. The people that used to live there will be moved to higher areas to avoid similar situations in the future.

Many homes were still without water and electricity on Monday, one week after the flooding began. Governor Carlos Reutemann called the flooding "the worst catastrophe in the history of the province." "We are going to have to really steel ourselves to get over this," he said.

The latest estimations say are the total amount in damages adds up to $300 million, as vast productive lands were hit by flooding in Argentina's soybean region. To mitigate the disaster, President Duhalde negotiated an emergency package with the World Bank of more than $200 million.

Of the 12 million productive hectares of the province, 2 million are flooded. Around 400,000 tons of soybeans and 300,000 tons of corn have been ruined.

Photo: Waterworld. People in the center of Santa Fe City, trying to rescue their belongings from the water.