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State of emergency in Paraguay’s capital Asunción after floods leave 20 000 homeless

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A state of emergency was declared in Paraguay's capital Asunción on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, after Paraguay River burst its banks, leaving at least 20 000 people homeless.

The river levels grew 2 cm (0.8 inches) on Wednesday and reached 5.72 m (18.7 feet), 22 cm (5.66 inches) over the critical level, but floods caused by it have been affecting the region for more than a week. Emergency Management Director Victor Hugo Julio told EFE that if the rains continue, the river will rise to 6 meters (19.7 feet).

Nearly 15 000 people, according to the most recent reports, were evacuated to shelters that are insufficient in number and others are on their own, occupying public places where they erect small precarious improvised temporary shelters, local media reports.

According to the General Direction of Meteorology, there is a tendency of slow and permanent rise of the Paraguay River due to heavy rainfall over the last few weeks and more rain in the forecast.

The most recent storm came in over northern Argentina and dumped 480 mm (18.9 inches) of rain over the past 5 days, affecting more than 50 000 people in the neighboring Argentinean Chaco region, and adding more rain to already swollen Parana and Paraguay rivers.

Featured image: Floods in Asuncion, Paraguay – January 2018. Credit: AFP

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