Over 100,000 flee floods in South America

Dec 27, 2015, 1:55 PM EST
An old river ferry provides service between the cities of Bella Union in Uruguay and Monte Caseros in Argentina.
Source: Vince Alongi/flickr

More than 100,000 people have had to evacuate from their homes in the bordering areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina due to severe flooding in the wake of heavy summer rains brought on by El Niño, authorities said Saturday.

Al Jazeera writes:

In the worst-affected country, Paraguay, around 90,000 people in the area around the capital city of Asuncion have been evacuated, the municipal Emergencies Office said. Many are poor families living in precarious housing along the banks of the River Paraguay. The Paraguayan government has declared a state of emergency in Asuncion and seven regions of the country to free up funds to help those affected. Several people have been killed by trees falling in the storms that caused the flooding, local media reported. There was no official death toll yet. In Alberdi, some 75 miles south of Asuncion, the government recommended that several thousand more people living along the banks of the River Paraguay evacuate. "[The flooding] was directly influenced by the El Niño phenomenon which has intensified the frequency and intensity of rains," the national Emergencies Office said.

The BBC reports:

Vast areas in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are being hit by the worst flooding in 50 years. The Paraguay river in the capital Asuncion, is only 30cm (12in) away from overtopping its banks. Officials warn this could lead to widespread flooding in the area. And it could also affect thousands of other people who live by the Paraguay - the country's main river - the authorities said. "(The flooding) was directly influenced by the El Nino phenomenon which has intensified the frequency and intensity of rains," Paraguay's national emergencies office said. Nearly 200 electricity pylons have been damaged or destroyed by strong winds, causing power cuts. Four people have been killed by fallen trees.

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