Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Mudslide envelops Argentine town

Aerial footage of the mudslide

A massive mudslide set off by heavy downpours has swept away a railway bridge and swamped houses in the Argentine town of Tartagal.

At least two people were reported missing after the river running through the town broke its banks, flooding roads and triggering landslides.

Some buildings were submerged in up to 1.5m (5ft) of mud.

The heavy rains come as parts of Argentina are suffering their worst prolonged drought in decades.

Torrential downpours caused the River Tartagal to overflow, with floodwaters sweeping away vehicles and inundating roads.

Local authorities said the mudslide had destroyed a railway bridge, making access to the town, which lies on the border with Bolivia, all the more difficult.

The governor of Salta province, Juan Manuael Urtubey, said some 10,000 people had been affected by the mudslide and flooding.

Tartagal has been hit by floods before. In December 2005, the town was largely cut off for several weeks.

The Argentine meteorological service says the heavy rain is likely to continue through Wednesday.

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