ASUNCION – Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez paid a visit on Wednesday to the military installation that is serving as a refuge for some of the 3,100 families displaced by the rising waters of the Paraguay River.
The president strolled around the grounds of the 1st Infantry Division in Asuncion, where hundreds of families are staying in tents and huts while waiting for the river to return to its normal level, which is not expected to happen for months.
Afterwards, Benitez told reporters that he wanted to check on the welfare of the displaced people and “thank all the workers” of the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN).
“Nothing will be enough, there are a lot of necessities, but we come to show our commitment and to listen to the report from the SEN minister (Joaquin Roa),” the president said.
He promised to improve the coordination among the various institutions in responding to the emergency and asked the displaced people for “patience.”
The neighborhoods lining the portion of the Paraguay River that traverses Asuncion are poor and most of the residences are little more than shacks.
To solve the problem, the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing, and Habitat proposed last week that the government build quality public housing in the riverside areas.
Abdo Benitez expressed support for that idea on Wednesday, but said that much time would be needed to make it a reality.