Following droughts in northern Europe last summer, a long dry spell in Argentina this winter has caused the deaths of thousands of cattle in Chaco province alone, and with summer approaching, the situation is serious.
GV Tank wagons in shunting yard
MVs Man operating filler supplying water to tanks (4 shots)
MV Train pulling out of yard
GV TRAVELLING SHOT from train
MV Children with buckets go to train (2 shots)
MV Buckets being filled from tank wagon
MV Boy running with bucket as train pulls out (2 shots)
GV Train along track
MV Horse-drawn cart carrying water barrels
GV People gathering to tank wagons
MVs Barrels being filled from tank wagon (3 shots)
MV Woman with bucket
MV Woman pushing away barrel
GV People in carts around water wagon
MV Sick horse being fed (2 shots)
MV Man on cart with water PAN TO cattle herd
MV Pig walking over parched earth
MV Carts with water barrels in village
MV PAN Water dripping from tank hose
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Following droughts in northern Europe last summer, a long dry spell in Argentina this winter has caused the deaths of thousands of cattle in Chaco province alone, and with summer approaching, the situation is serious.
SYNOPSIS: The worst hit areas are the northern provinces where the most desperately short areas are being supplied by train. The Belgrano railway has been carrying water in tank wagons to these areas since July, mid-winter. Each one of the wagons, in this consignment of 18, carries 10,000 gallons (45,000 litres) of the precious liquid.
Visnews cameraman Jorge Casal travelled aboard one of these water trains through the north central Chaco province. It visited the worst hit areas of Pampa del Infierno, or Hell's Pampa, Rio Muerto, the Dead River and the driest region, El Cabure.
In some areas the lack of water is total. People rush to greet the train as it pulls into each station. They bring buckets, barrels, anything that will hold water. This young boy was too late, he missed the train.
At one stage the shortage was so acute in their homes that people waiting for water from the trains fought amongst each other. But for most of these people, who have lived in this arid zone all their lives, the situation is serious. All wells and lagoons have dried up, and the rivers reduced to a mere trickle.
Agriculture in the area is also being seriously hit. More than one hundred thousand cattle have died in the Chaco province alone. Farmers report that their existing stock are losing weight rapidly.
There seems to be no relief form the hot sun, and with no rain in sight either people look forward with apprehension to summer with the water pipes already dry.