The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
160,000 Flee Their Homes as Devastating Flooding Hits South America
More than 100,000 people have been evacuated throughout the bordering areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil as severe flooding continued to batter South America this weekend.
According to new figures released Sunday by the Municipal Emergencies office, as many as 160,000 people have had to flee their homes due to the flooding that began Dec. 18—a devastating result of this season's El Niño storms.
Many of those impacted are low-income families living along the Paraguay River, a major river that runs through Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
"[The flooding] was directly influenced by the El Niño phenomenon which has intensified the frequency and intensity of rains," the office said.
As the United Nations weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization, warned last month, this year's storm season is the worst in more than 15 years and is likely to bring yet more flooding and droughts to the tropics and subtropics.
The flooding in South America follows recent severe storms in Yemen and Mexico. In October, after Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Manzanillo, Mexico, and forced the evacuation of 50,000 people, due to climate change, it was "exactly the kind of terrifying storm we can expect to see more frequently in the decades to come," Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus reported.
Paraguay has been the hardest hit, with an estimated 100,000 displaced, while 20,000 have been left homeless in Argentina and 9,000 in Uruguay. At least eight people have been killed across the region, according to local media.
Paraguay's emergencies office also said the river is likely to rise in the coming days and may not subside until January.
Paraguay has reportedly declared a state of emergency in Asunción.
As Corrientes governor Ricardo Colombi said on Sunday, "the consequences [of the flooding] will be serious."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.
The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.
But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.