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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguay Urges Complete Evacuation of Town Threatened by Swollen River

ASUNCION – Paraguay’s government on Saturday urged the 7,000 residents of Alberdi, a town on the Argentine border, to evacuate their homes due to the rain-triggered swelling of the Paraguay River and cracks in a wall built to hold back floodwaters.

Those people will be temporarily relocated to Villeta, a port city that is part of Greater Asuncion, the Public Works and Communications Ministry said in a statement.

The head of that portfolio, Ramon Jimenez Gasona, and other government authorities traveled to that southern city on Saturday morning, a month after cracks were first detected in the wall, to examine its current condition.

“The government recommends the complete evacuation of the town of Alberdi due to the possible rupture of the retaining wall,” Mayor Federico Centurion was quoted as saying in a statement.

Elsewhere, some 90,000 people have been forced from their homes in Asuncion due to heavy flooding this month of the Paraguay River, which rose to 7.8 meters (25.5 feet) on Christmas Day.

In neighboring Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff’s government announced an emergency 6.6-million-reais ($1.8-million) aid package for 12 cities where 8,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and take refuge in municipal shelters due to heavy summer rains attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon.

On Saturday, Rousseff carried out a helicopter inspection of the flood damage in southern Brazil, particularly the municipality of Uruguaiana, located on the country’s border with Argentina.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri, for his part, has decided to interrupt his vacation in Patagonia and pay a visit Sunday to the city hardest hit by torrential rains and flooding in his nation’s northeastern region, Concordia, where two people have died and 20,000 have been forced from their homes.

 

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