Paraguay – Thousands Evacuated in Asunción as River Levels Rise (Updated)

Update, 24 January 2018

Levels of the Paraguay river in Asunción have increased by over 1 metre in the last 10 days, forcing thousands living close to the river banks to leave their homes.

As of 23 January, the Paraguay river stood at 5.72 metres at Asunción, an increase of 16cm since 18 January and well above critical level of 5.5 metres.

Secretaría De Emergencia Nacional (SEN) in Paraguay say that the numbers of those evacuated from areas along the river have increased from 1,255 families on 16 January to 3,510 families as of 23 January.

Many of those evacuated have done so for precautionary reasons. head of SEN, Joaquín Roa, said in a press conference, “Of these 3,510 families we have to clarify that in many cases the waters have not yet reached their homes, but have decided to evacuate for security reasons.”

He added that forecasts suggest the river is unlikely to exceed 6 metres, although this of course depends on the amount of rain in catchment areas over the coming days.

Original report, 18 January 2018

Over the last few days authorities in Paraguay have evacuated over 1,000 families from homes in low-lying areas along the Paraguay River in Asunción.

Levels of the river have increased by over 50cm since 13 January after days of heavy rain, particularly in the country’s Eastern Region.

Dirección de Meteorología e Hidrología (DMH) said some areas recorded more than 100 mm in 48 hours from 12 to 14 January. More rain has been forecast and DHM say that levels of the Paraguay River are unlikely to fall any time soon.

As of 18 January the river stood at 5.56 metres at Asunción, which above the level of 5.5 metres, considered to be critical stage. “Disaster” level is 8 metres.

Twenty-four shelters have been set up by the Municipality of Asunción to house those displaced. According to the Municipality of Asunción, as of 16 January there were over 1,255 families in the shelters: 545 from Bañado Norte, 85 from Chacarita and 625 from Bañado Sur.

The country’s Secretaría De Emergencia Nacional (SEN), working with military personnel, has also set up a large shelter in Tacumbú.

Asunción regularly sees flooding from the Paraguay River, in particular the communities living close to the river such as Bañado Norte and Sur.

Severe flooding affected the city from December 2015, when 13,000 families were affected. By January 2016 the river had reached 7.61 metres. At that time flooding from the river could be seen from space.

Floods from the Paraguay River, 12 January 2016. Image: NASA
Paraguay River with normal levels in January 2014. Image: NASA

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Flood Summary

Last updated: January 24, 2018
Paraguay, January 2018
January 16, 2018
River flood
Long-term rainfall


A - Bañado Norte
B - Chacarita
C - Bañado Sur


River level
5.56 metres
Paraguay River, Asuncion - January 18 to January 18, 2018
5.5 metres is critical stage, 8 metres is disaster stage.
River level
5.72 metres
Paraguay River, Asuncion - January 23 to January 23, 2018
5.5 metres is critical stage, 8 metres is disaster stage.


Asuncion - January 16 to January 24, 2018
Estimated figure: 3,510 families