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Southern Chile Paralyzed by Antarctic Blast July 22, 2011
Satellite Image
Lonquimay resident trudging through waist-deep snowfall blocking streets and roads in the Andean region.
The heaviest snowfall to blanket southern Chile in 16 years left thousands of inhabitants cut off from the rest of the country during the depth of the southern winter.

Officials on Wednesday declared eight southern districts catastrophe zones due to four days of nearly nonstop snowfall.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera promised “more tools to aid those Chileans who today are living through times of adversity.”

High winds from an Antarctic cold front cut power to most residents of the Andean community of Lonquimay, 375 miles south of Santiago, where helicopters were being used to deliver emergency food and supplies.

Another severely affected area was the world’s southernmost large city of Punta Arenas, where trucks waited for days for road-clearing equipment to reach the region.

Photo: Mario Quilodran - El Mercurio