Water slowly restored in Chile capital after deadly floods

The Chilean authorities have been working to restore water to some 4.5 million people in the capital Santiago, whose supply had to be cut after deadly floods contaminated a major river.

Three people died in the torrential rains and landslides that hit central Chile over the weekend, emergency officials meanwhile said, revising an initial death toll of four. Nineteen people remain missing, they added.

Production of potable water had been “partially” restarted Monday morning, said Aguas Andinas, the private company responsible for most of Santiago’s water supply.

“We’ll be restoring potable water service slowly and gradually, starting first thing in the morning and continuing throughout the day,” client service manager Eugenio Rodriguez said in a statement.

The storms started Saturday, sending mudslides and rubble surging into the Maipo river, which supplies most homes in the capital of 6.5 million people.

The decision to cut off the water supply prompted many people to go out with buckets and pans to collect water at some 200 emergency taps opened by the authorities.

Others rushed to supermarkets to stockpile bottled water.

Classes in affected schools have been cancelled.