Argentina Floods – Thousands Evacuated in Cordoba

José Manuel de la Sota, the governor of Cordoba province in Argentina, today declared a state of emergency throughout the province.

Parts of the province have been under water for the last 5 days. One local observer said the region had seen 18 consecutive days of rain. Six people died in floods in the province in mid February 2015 after 320 mm of rain fell in 12 hours. Further heavy rainfall over the last 2 days has worsened the situation.

WMO report that 75 mm of rain fell in 24 hours between 02 and 03 March 2015 in Marcos Juárez in Cordoba.

At least 2,000 people have been forced from their homes after flooding across the province. The worst affected areas are the towns of Idiazabal and Balnearia. Idiazábal has been under water since 27 February 2015, when at least 400 people had to evacuated their homes, according to La Voz.

floods cordoba argentina
Floods in Idiazábal, Córdoba, Argentina, March 2015. Photo: Gobierno de Córdoba

After the recent heavy rain, Totoral, Jesús María, Caroya and Ascochinga can also be added to the list of affected areas.

In a statement, the government of Cordoba said: “The situation is critical, it rained abundantly in places that until now had not been affected and worsened in already flooded areas.”

The statement also said that flooding rivers and increase the flow of water from dams was hampering relief efforts. Affected communities are also spread over a wide area, in the east, north and central parts of the province.

San Luis and Santa Fe Provinces

The provinces of San Luis and Santa Fe gave also been affected by severe weather over the last 2 days. Around 350 people have been evacuated from their homes in San Luis province, which had also been badly hit by floods last month. In Sauce Viejo, Santa Fe, 61 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 03 March 2015.

Deforestation in Cordoba

Greenpeace Argentina say deforestation is one of the main causes of increased flooding in Cordoba. Their report says:

“despite the enactment of the National Forest Act, land clearing for agriculture and urban development has wiped out native forests in fragile areas”

Greenpeace said that between 2007, when the Forest Act came into force, and mid-2013, as much as 44,823 hectares of forest was cleared.

Hernán Giardini, coordinator of Greenpeace forest campaigner, said:

“Scientists and environmentalists have long been warning that forests are our natural sponge, thus more deforestation means more flooding. It is necessary that politicians and businessmen strictly comply with the Forest Act”

Photos of the floods in Cordoba from Social Media below: