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December 29, 2015

Flooding Hits Borders of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay

Torrential rainfall over the last several weeks have resulted in the worst flooding in over 20 years along the border areas of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. Civil defense personnel in the four countries estimate that 160,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in low lying areas along the region's rivers. The capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, appears to have been the hardest hit with flooding along the Paraguay River which has displaced over 100,000 people. States of emergency have been declared in many cities and provinces in the region.

In Argentina, the floods are impacting the provinces of Entre Rios, Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Missiones, and Santa Fe. Most of the flooding is occurring along the region's rivers, but much of the farmland in the region is flat and poorly drained, so some crop losses are expected. This is also the last region in Argentina to plant their summer crops and the heavy rains are expected to delay the end of spring planting.

In Rio Grande do Sul, 38 municipalities have been impacted by the flooding with many of them in the soybean growing region of northwestern Rio Grande do Sul. Brazilian President Rousseff interrupted her holiday with family in the city of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, to tour the impacted regions of Rio Grande do Sul by helicopter on Saturday.

At the city of Uruguaiana, which is located in southwestern Rio Grande do Sul, the water level in the Uruguay River reached 11 meters over the weekend when normally it is 5 meters during this time of the year. The water levels started to recede in northern Rio Grande do Sul on Sunday, but they are expected to continue rising further downstream in Argentina and Uruguay.

Unfortunately, there are more rains in the forecast for northern Argentina, so the impact of the flooding on the crops in the region is unclear at this point.