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Flooding kills at least 46 people in Argentina

Jorge Luperne/Reuters

Residents stand next to debris of their ruined home after heavy rains flooded a large part of the city, in La Plata on April 3.

Flash floods killed at least 46 people and forced about 1,500 residents to evacuate the Argentine city of La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires province, government officials said on Wednesday.

Some people drowned after being trapped in their cars or while walking along city streets when the water rose suddenly on Tuesday night, while others were electrocuted, provincial governor Daniel Scioli told reporters.

The same storm killed at least five people in Buenos Aires, which lies about 36 miles northwest of La Plata.

"Families and small children spent the night on their roofs, getting wet. People in wheelchairs were up to their waists in water all night. It was a disaster," Bruno Zorzit, a resident of La Plata, told Reuters Television.

Local media said between 12 to 16 inches of rain fell in just two hours, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in La Plata and surrounding areas.

President Cristina Fernandez, who grew up near La Plata, visited the flood zone and promised to send more police to calm people's fears that evacuated homes could be looted.

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

A couple looks at their flooded street from behind their home's window in La Plata, in Argentina's Buenos Aires province, Wednesday, April 3, 2013.