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News > Latin America

South America Floods Death Toll Hits 10

Published 28 December 2015
Opinion

Floods are continuing to wreak havoc in four South American nations.

Devastating floods have now killed at least 10 people across four South American nations, according to reports Monday.

The latest casualties were in southern Brazil, where a total four people have now been killed by mudslides sparked by heavy rainfall and flooding.

Two more deaths have been reported in neighboring Argentina, and another four in Paraguay.

The heavy rains that are spurring chaos across the region showed no signs of abating late Sunday, with Paraguayan authorities warning flood levels could soon be the worst on record.

Click on photo to go to gallery to see effects of flooding (opens new window)

"The Paraguay River has swollen almost to eight meters. Not even the most dramatic forecasts called for that in December," said director of Paraguay's weather service, Julian Baez, according to AFP.

An estimated 160,000 people have already been displaced across the border regions of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina since the disaster began Dec. 18.

Paraguay has been the worst hit, with an estimated 100,000 people displaced, according to local media. At least 20,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Argentina, according to state broadcaster Telam, while another 9,000 have been displaced in Uruguay.

In Paraguay alone, emergency efforts are expected to cost as much as US$3.5 million, according to President Horacio Cartes. In Argentina, the federal government has pledged to cover over half the reconstruction costs, and invest in US$1.4 million in improvements to anti-flood infrastructure.

"We need to make final decisions, the government will pay for about 66 percent of the flood damage to reconstruct buildings," said President Mauricio Macri, according to La Nacion.

The pledge comes as Macri's neoliberal government continues to also promise broad public sector spending cuts.

RELATED: Venezuela Launches Plan to Mitigate Effects of El Niño

The floods were caused by a week of severe rains, which experts say are linked to the El Niño weather pattern.

Forecasters say the region could end up suffering one of its largest floods in 60 years, according to local media.

“Severe droughts and devastating flooding being experienced throughout the tropics and subtropical zones bear the hallmarks of this El Niño,” said Michel Jarraud, head of the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.

The organization says the current El Niño is the worst in 15 years.

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