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Uruguay floods leave 24,000 displaced

Uruguayan soldiers help people affected by floods in Artigas on December 30, 2015. Photo EPA/Uruguayan Army

Uruguayan soldiers help people affected by floods in Artigas on December 30, 2015. Photo EPA/Uruguayan Army

Montevideo [EFE]

The number of people displaced in Uruguay following flooding has risen to 23,571.

A report from the National Emergency System, or Sina, said that of all the people who had to leave their homes, 2322 were evacuated and 21,249 abandoned their dwellings by their own means.

Heavy downpours recently caused the Uruguay River to overflow – in particular its Cuaresma tributary, which runs through the northern city of Atiga.

The floods have left two people confirmed dead, officials said.

According to the Sina report, the level of the Uruguay River subsided in Atiga – capital of the like-named province – as it did in Salton province, while remaining stable in Paysandu province.

In Atiga, the city hardest hit by the floods, the Cuaresma River reached its highest level on December 23 at 15.28 metres, where the safety level is 10 .2m. The river has now stabilised below that height.

Evacuees have been lodged in temporary shelters coordinated by emergency management services, while other displaced people were staying in private homes or at makeshift campsites.

Sina warned that once river levels were back to normal, ‘returning home can only be done without risk after the cleaning and disinfection of the affected areas have been carried out’, and that the excessive demands on the healthcare system and the presence of bacteria were other factors that put the health of the population at risk.


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