As of Friday, February 1, authorities have evacuated over 1200 people in the Arica y Parinacota region due to severe flooding. Evacuations have been concentrated mainly along the banks of the San Jose River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at Arica. A red alert for severe flooding across Arica y Parinacota remains in effect as of February 1, as does a yellow alert for flooding in El Loa province and Antofagasta. According to authorities, flooding has left one person dead in Calama and two others missing.
Local authorities in and around San Pedro de Atacama and Calama are currently advising tourists to avoid the area due to the risks of landslides and additional flooding. Transportation disruptions (e.g. blocked roads, damaged infrastructure, etc.) are expected to continue in affected areas over the near term. Authorities have warned that although conditions are expected to improve in the coming days in most areas, additional precipitation is forecast in some areas that could prompt further flooding.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (notably evacuation orders), and to anticipate weather-related transportation disruptions. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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