SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Heavy rains in Chile's northern desert regions, which are unaccustomed to much precipitation, have caused mudslides and rivers to breach their banks, leaving residents stranded and without access to electricity or drinking water.
The government's ONEMI emergency office reported that nearly 22,000 people were without power and almost 50,000 lacked drinking water in the northern Coquimbo and Atacama regions.
The area includes many of Chile's largest copper mines, which account for about a third of global supply.
There were no initial reports of operations being suspended.
Television images and photos on Twitter showed muddy rivers rushing through city streets and even partially flooding a hospital.
As a precautionary measure schools in the regions affected by the heavy rains were closed.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)