Update 2nd July 2013:
- Since the floods began over 12,000 people have been affected.
- The departments worst affected are: Alto Paraná, Misiones, Ñeembucú and Amambay.
- The city of Ayolas in Misiones has seen sever flooding resulting in the evacuation of 4,000 people.
- Two indigenous communities (totalling about 40 families) have been cut off by floods in Presidente Hayes department.
- Flooding in Ñeembucú in south east Paraguay has worsened as a result of high river levels of the Paraná.
The Paraná river, which runs close to the border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil has flooded in areas of Paraguay forcing 800 people to evacuate their homes on Wednesday 26th June. The floods and high river levels are a result of heavy rains in the region. The worst affected areas are in the Paraguay department of Alto Paraná, and further south in Ayolas area, in the department of Missiones.
Rafael Valdez, head of Paraguay’s National Emergency Secretariat (SEN) said that the floods could affect as many as 2,000 households over the next few days. Supplies, including tents and food, have been provided to displaced families in the state of Alto Paraná.
In Ayolas, Missiones, 50 families so far have been evacuated, although authorities there are expecting the situation to worsen. Local authorities are providing food and shelter to those displaced, and Paraguay’s National Emergency Secretariat will be setting up an operation there also.
The flooding has been so severe that, should it continue, the national government would declare a state of emergency in the affected areas. Paraguay’s President Federico Franco said:
“We are considering swifter action, because the Paraná River is expected to keep rising…We have information that this (river) could continue to rise and if this continues to get worse, we will declare a local state of emergency,”
Forecasts expect river levels of the Paraná to exceed those levels reached in 2009. One forecast suggest the level could be around 620cm, as much as 30cm higher than in 2009 where the river stood at 589cm. Should the forecasts be correct, the river flow will be as high as 39,000 cubic metres per second.
In April last year at least 10,000 families were affected by floods after heavy rains caused river overflows in two districts of Central Chaco region in Paraguay.
One of the worst floods of the Paraná river was during 1982 to 1983. The flooding this time was on a much larger scale than seen so far this year, and affected Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, as well as Paraguay. 600,000 people were displaced, and there were 170 casualties killed in the floods. The 82 to 83 floods were something of a wake-up call to the Paraguay authorities.