December 2015 – BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Widespread floods have forced nearly 140,000 people from their homes in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil following days of torrential rains that drenched a region where the countries border each other.
Paraguay is the hardest hit with at least 100,000 evacuating according to the National Emergency Department. Argentina’s state-run news agency Telam reports that 20,000 people suffered the same fate in that nation, while Uruguay’s National Emergency System says some 9,000 were displaced by rivers that overflowed their banks. The civil defense department in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul says at least 7,000 people had to leave their homes. –Fox News
More than 100,000 people have had to evacuate from their homes in the bordering areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina due to severe flooding in the wake of heavy summer rains brought on by El Niño, authorities said on Saturday. In the worse affected country, Paraguay, around 90,000 people in the area around the capital city of Asuncion have been evacuated, the municipal Emergencies Office said. Many are poor families living in precarious housing along the banks of the River Paraguay.
The Paraguayan government has declared a state of emergency in Asuncion and seven regions of the country to free up funds to help those affected. Several people have been killed by trees falling in the storms that caused the flooding, local media reported. There was no official death toll yet. In Alberdi, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Asuncion, the government recommended that several thousand more people living along the banks of the River Paraguay evacuate.
“(The flooding) was directly influenced by the El Niño phenomenon which has intensified the frequency and intensity of rains,” the national Emergencies Office said. This year’s “El Nino,” which sparks global climate extremes, is the worst in more than 15 years, the U.N. weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said last month. “Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones bear the hallmarks of this El Nino, which is the strongest in more than 15 years,” WMO chief Michel Jarraud said in a statement. Officials at Paraguay’s Emergencies Office said the river might rise even more in the coming days, stabilizing and falling back toward normal levels from January onwards. –Reuters