Increasing levels of the Uruguay River and its tributaries have forced around thousands to evacuate their homes in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.
Uruguay’s National Emergency System (SINAE) reports that flooding of the Uruguay River has displaced 1,754 in the departments of Salto, Paysandú and Artigas. Some of the evacuees have been in temporary accommodation for over 1 week.
Some areas have been affected by flooding since 24 May after a storm brought heavy rain to river catchments. On May 26 evacuations were carried out in Artigas, Cerro Largo and Salto and in Paysandú two days later. By 30 May around 500 people had evacuated their homes. The number of those displaced has risen over the last 3 days after further rainfall in the Uruguay River basin.
From the total number displaced, 573 were evacuated by the authorities to temporary shelters and 1,098 were self-evacuated and are staying in private homes or self-managed camps. SINAE says that those displaced are receiving comprehensive care, including shelter, food and medical supplies.
The worst hit department is Salto, where almost 1,300 have been displaced. In Paysandú, 408 people have been displaced and 47 in Artigas.
The department of Cerro Largo has also been affected by floods. However, 45 people who were evacuated earlier in Rio Branco in Cerro Largo have since been able to return to their homes.
More heavy rain is expected early next week. With river levels already high and soil saturated, SINAE says that further evacuations are likely.
Brazil and Argentina
Parts of the neighbouring state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil have also been affected by flooding. As of 31 May over 2,500 people had been displaced.
On 27 May evacuations were carried out in parts of Argentina as a result of flooding from the Uruguay River. According to the Telam news agency, 32 families were evacuated in Concordia and a further 17 families in Concepción del Uruguay.
Rainfall and River Levels
According to figures from the Joint Technical Commission of Salto Grande, persistent rainfall has been falling in river catchments since 25 May, with many areas seeing around 20 to 30 mm each day.
Some heavier rain was recorded on 28 May, with Itá recording 56 mm and Foz do Chapecó 52 mm in 24 hours.
Joint Technical Commission of Salto Grande suggest that the heaviest daily totals were seen on 31 May, with Itá (Brazil) recording 72 mm, Foz do Chapecó (Brazil) 92 mm, El Soberbio (Argentina) 54 mm, San Javier (Uruguay) 87 mm and Santo Tomé (Argentina) 80 mm
Levels of the Uruguay River as of 01 June, 2017, according to Joint Technical Commission of Salto Grande:
- El Soberbio, Argentina – 15.20m, up from 7.18m on 29 May
- San Javier, Uruguay – 10.14m, up from 4.16m on 29 May
- Garruchos, Brazil – 15.40m, up from 8.97m on 29 May
- Santo Tomé, Argentina – 12.70m, up from 10.74m on 29 May
- Salto Grande, Uruguay – 34.31m, down from 35.23m on 29 May
- Concordia, Argentina – 12.98m, up from 12m on 29 May
B - Concepción del Uruguay (Argentina)
C - San Javier (Uruguay)
D - Salto (Uruguay)
E - Paysandú (Uruguay)
F - Bella Unión (Uruguay)
G - Itaqui
Uruguay River, El Soberbio, Argentina - June 1 to June 1, 2017
Up from 7.18m on 29 May
Uruguay River, San Javier, Uruguay - June 1 to June 1, 2017
Uruguay River, Garruchos, Brazil - June 1 to June 1, 2017
Up from 8.97m on 29 May
Uruguay River, Santo Tomé, Argentina - June 1 to June 1, 2017
up from 10.74m on 29 May
Uruguay River, Salto Grande, Uruguay - June 1 to June 1, 2017
down from 35.23m on 29 May
Uruguay River, Concordia, Argentina - June 1 to June 1, 2017
Up from 12m on 29 May
Itá, Brazil - May 30 to May 31, 2017
Foz do Chapecó, Brazil - May 30 to May 31, 2017
El Soberbio, Argentina - May 30 to May 31, 2017
San Javier, Uruguay - May 30 to May 31, 2017
Santo Tomé, Argentina - May 30 to May 31, 2017
Uruguay - May 24 to June 7, 2017
Salto, Paysandú, Bella Unión (Artigas) and San Javier (Río Negro)
Brazil - May 31 to May 31, 2017
Argentina - May 27 to June 1, 2017
Concordia and Concepción del Uruguay