ASUNCION – Flooding caused by the rising Paraguay River in Asuncion has forced the evacuation to date of 72,500 people, most of whom are staying on land set aside for shelters, an official told EFE on Tuesday.
Of those evacuees, some 66,000 are living in some 100 areas provided by the government throughout the city, while the rest are staying at the homes of relatives, David Avendaño of the SEN emergency management agency said.
The SEN is distributing plywood and zinc sheeting for the evacuees to build their own huts in the allotted spaces, some of which are located at military bases and others right in the city’s downtown area.
According to the official, the SEN is also organizing soup kitchens for those now deprived of sustenance.
Avendaño said it is very difficult to provide an exact daily update of the number of evacuees, of whom some 10,000 have been in that condition since 2014, when the overflowing Paraguay River drove around 85,000 local residents from their homes.
Most of those affected come from the Bañados, two poor neighborhoods on the banks of the river.
Last week President Horacio Cartes decreed a state of emergency in Asuncion and in seven affected provinces.
The cresting of the Paraguay River normally occurs once every 10 years, but in the last two years it has risen above its critical point of 5.5 meters (18 feet) on three occasions.