Uruguay – 13,000 Remain Displaced by Floods in 4 Departments

Flooding from the overflowing Uruguay and Cuareim Rivers in Uruguay has been affecting tens of thousands of people since late December in the departments of Salto, Paysandú, Artigas, Río Negro and Florida.

By 31 December over 23,000 people had been displaced, according to Uruguay’s National Emergency System, or SINAE. Flooding has also affected wide areas of the neighbouring South American states of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Since then levels of the Uruguay and Cuareim Rivers in Artigas and Salto in Uruguay have fallen and are expected to fall further in the next few days.

SINAE reported on Sunday 03 January 2015 that as a result, there has been a significant drop in the numbers of those displaced by flooding, particularly those in Artigas, where around 1,000 people remain displaced compared with 11,000 last week.

Across the four departments still currently affected by the flooding (Salto, Paysandú, Artigas and Río Negro), there are now a total of 13,844 displaced. Over 6,000 of these are in the city of Paysandú and a further 5,896 in the city of Salto.

The total number of displaced includes 1,526 people who were evacuated and housed by the emergency authorities, and 12,318 “autoevacuadas” – those who abandoned their dwellings by their own means without government intervention.

River Levels

In the city of Artigas, the Cuareim River reached 15.28 meters on 23 December. Safety level is 10.2 metres. Over the last few days the river has fallen back to safe levels.

The Uruguay River is still significantly above safety levels in the cities of Paysandú (currently 9.1 m where the safe level is 5.5 m) and Salto (15.9 m, where safe level is 12 m). However, levels are falling and are expected to fall further over the coming days.

In Bella Union (Artigas) levels stand at 8.3 metres, less than 2 metres above safety levels of 6.5 metres. River levels in Fray Bentos (Paysandú), Nuevo Berlin and San Javier (Río Negro) have all fallen below or close to flood stage.

Floods in Uruguay, December 2015. Photo: Sistema Nacional de Emergencias
Floods in Uruguay, December 2015. Photo: Sistema Nacional de Emergencias
Photo: Sistema Nacional de Emergencias
Photo: Sistema Nacional de Emergencias