Floods in Argentina

Last week the Paraná river in Paraguay broke its banks and the floods forced 800 people from their homes. The Paraná runs along the border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Heavy rainfall, at around 10cm per day, has been falling for around 10 days in the region.

There are now reports that the heavy rains that swelled the levels of the Paraná have also brought water levels in the Iguazú river to high levels. The flow of the Paraná is said to be 3 times the norm, and the Iguazú is as much as 11 times higher than the normal flow at this time of year.

Flooding has now affected various parts of Argentina, including the provinces of Corrientes, Chaco and Santa Fe. Reports claim that around 10,000 people have been evacuated from the area while the river levels pose such a threat. Evacuation teams made up of police, fire department staff and volunteers have been helping with the evacuations. Those displaced have been taken to relief camps on higher ground.

The floods haven also hit the world famous Iguazú Park in Argentina, home of the Iguazú Falls, forcing the authorities to close parts of the national park to visitors on 27th June and dangerous areas – most of the walkways around the “Garganta del Diablo” track – will remain closed until it is deemed safe enough for tourists to return. Walkways over the river have been covered in debris and flood water. All sightseeing boat tours have also been suspended. The floods and high river levels are expected to last around 7 days.

Iguazu falls Argentina
Floods in Iguazu Falls Argentina
Photo AFP / Diario El Territorio

The heavy rainfall had increased water levels of the Yacyretá dam to such an extent that it was forced to release water worsening the floods for those down river. The Yacyretá dam and hydroelectric power plant is situated at the waterfalls of Jasyretâ-Apipé in the Paraná River, between the Argentine Province of Corrientes and the Paraguayan City of Ayolas.

Further upriver, also on the Paraná is the Itaipú dam – the world’s largest operating hydroelectric dam. It lies on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. High water levels there also meant that authorities were forced to open the dam’s flood gates.

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Sources: Al Jazeera; Argentina Independent