MONTEVIDEO – The number of people evacuated in Uruguay due to flooding in the provinces of Artigas, Paysandu, Rio Negro and Salto stands at 13,848, the National Emergency System reported Monday.
The total has decreased since Saturday, when 23,271 people were listed as displaced, as nearly 10,000 people were able to return to their homes in the city of Artigas, capital of the like-named province.
Heavy rains have swollen the Uruguay River and its tributaries, notably the Cuareim, which flows through the city of Artigas, and at least two people have died because of the floods.
The Cuareim River crested in Artigas city on Dec. 23 at 15.28 meters (50 feet), but has since receded and is now below the safety level of 10.2 meters (33.4 feet).
In Bella Union, Artigas, the Uruguay River was measured Monday at 8 meters (26 feet), above the designated safe level of 6.5 meters (20 feet).
To the south in Paysandu, the Uruguay was at 9.1 meters (nearly 30 feet), well above the safe level of 5.5 meters (18 feet).
In Salto, the Uruguay River remained at 15.2 meters (almost 50 feet), compared with a safe level of 12 meters (39.3 feet).