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close this bookDisasters Preparedness and Mitigation - Issue No. 16 - July, 1983 (PAHO)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentHealth hazards from volcanic eruptions
View the documentThe 1982 eruption of El Chichonal Volcano, Southeastern Mexico.*
View the documentStudy of the disaster caused by the Chichonal eruption
View the documentSevere floods continue in South America
View the documentCharacteristics of ash of potential health importance
View the documentMember countries
View the documentNews from PAHO and WHO
View the documentReview of publications and films
View the documentNotes from other agencies
View the documentSelected bibliography

Severe floods continue in South America

Floods continued to affect several South American countries during the second quarter of this year.

In Peru, where heavy rains persisted from December into May, the situation was critical in the northern departments of Piura and rumbas. Torrential rainfall seriously set back rehabilitation efforts and bridges and roads were washed away, hampering the delivery of relief supplies. An estimated 140,000 farmers and agricultural workers were unable to work, according to an UNDRO situation report issued in late May. Reported deaths from respiratory and enteric diseases, especially in children, rose by 200 percent over the pre-flood period.

In Argentina meanwhile, over 6,000,000 hectares in the northeastern provinces of Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco, Formosa, and Entre Ríos were affected by the worst floods ever recorded in that country. Torrential rains in May caused the Paraguay and Paraná rivers-already swollen by rains that started in December-to overflow. Over 140,000 people were left homeless, although no deaths were reported.

Helicopter rescues family isolated by floods in Nicaragua earlier this year. (Photo: J. Muños Pazmiño/LICROSS)

Floods caused by the same rainfall also affected Brazil and Paraguay. In Brazil 23 persons were reported dead and 25,000 rendered homeless in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.

In Paraguay the population of Pilar, on the Praguay River bank, evacuated their homes as floods destroyed roads and bridges and made agricultural work impossible. Around 120,000 persons have been evacuated, according to the League of Red Cross Societies.