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 Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."