Uruguay – 1,000 Evacuated After Floods in Artigas, Salto, Paysandú and Rivera

Almost 1,000 people have been displaced by flooding in northern Uruguay. Levels of the Uruguay River rose above danger levels in several locations after days of heavy rainfall hit northern provinces late last week.

The country’s emergency agency, Sistema Nacional de Emergencias (SINAE) reported yesterday that flooding has affected the departments of Artigas, Salto, Paysandú and Rivera.

Late last week, Uruguay’s Institute of Meteorology (INUMET) had issued warnings of heavy rains and severe storms and a heightened risk of flooding from the overflowing Uruguay River.

SINAE say that 935 people have since been evacuated after the Uruguay River overflowed. Some roads, including Route 30 in the department of Artigas, have been blocked by flooding.

Uruguay River Levels

According to the latest reports from SINAE, the Uruguay River is above flood stage at three locations. In Bella Unión, Artigas province, levels stand at 7.09 metres, well above the 6.5 metre flood stage. In the city of Salto, levels are at 13.4 metres, above the 12 metre flood level. In Paysandú city levels are 6.71 m, above the flood stage of 5.5 metres.

Rainfall

According to Met Uruguay, at least 9 locations in northern Uruguay received more than 150 mm in 24 hours between 17 and 18 December 2015, all of them in Salto or Artigas departments. Colonia Palma in Artigas saw 195 mm of rain in 24 hours.

Flooded street in Paysandú, July 2014 Photo: presidencia.gub.uy
Flooded street in Paysandú, July 2014 Photo: presidencia.gub.uy