Some 1,500 families were evacuated from Paraguay’s capital Asuncion Sunday as the Paraguay River rose to dangerous levels, local officials reported.
The river rose to over 19 feet (5.67 meters), flooding poor communities on the banks of the river and forcing authorities to evacuate homes in the area, according to national emergency officials. Experts expect the river could hit almost 7 meters by the end of the month.
“Beautiful Asuncion, if something is not done the rain will destroy it.”
The floods come as a result of a particularly strong El Niño effect this year, which meteorologists have dubbed the most intense El Niño on record. The climatic phenomenon, originating with temperatures 3.1 degrees Celsius higher than average this year in the Pacific Ocean, has unleashed a barrage of floods, droughts, heatwaves, and other extreme weather events across the globe.
The floods come after major thunderstorm in the Paraguayan capital and surrounding areas on Friday affected some 1,800 families in the Central Department southeast of the federal district Asuncion.
Paraguay’s central river basin and parts of the Parana River, which feed into the Paraguay River, have been hardest hit by heavy rain, leading to a drastic rise in water levels around Asuncion.
“Torrential rains, thunder, and lightening continue in Asuncion.”
In 2014, water levels in the Paraguay River rose to about 7 meters and impacted some 200,000 people across the country. It was one of several floods that has hit the area in the course of more than a decade.
According to census data, close to 100,000 people, just under one-fifth of Asuncion’s total population, live in the flood-affected area of Los Bañados.
Experts expect extreme weather events, including the El Niño phenomenon, to increase in frequency and intensity with climate change.
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