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 Heavy rain in Argentina causes $66m in damage to s

12/10/2004 EFE NEWS SERVICE- More than 10,000 people have been forced fromtheir homes by flooding in the Argentine province of Chaco, where the"prospects are bleak," officials said Thursday.

Flooding in the northern province also covered 600,000 hectares (1,481,481acres) of cropland, according to Interior Minister Hugo Matkovich.

Heavy rain in the region through Tuesday caused an estimated $66 millionin damage to soy, sunflower and cotton producers, according to a reportpublished Thursday in the daily Norte.

"The prospects are bleak, but the situation is under control. It hasn'trained for two days and we are faced with the challenge of overcoming thisemergency as soon as possible," Matkovich told Buenos Aires' Radio Mitre.

Following a long drought, Chaco's most important crop growing regionsreceived 800 millimeters (31 inches) of precipitation in 12 days, which ismore rain than the province usually gets in a year.

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