Thousands of families in Paraguay’s capital city, Asuncion, have been driven from their homes after devastating flooding.
Torrential rains had been battering the area since March, causing the overflow of the Paraguay River.
The unusually heavy rain has been linked to the climate pattern El Niño, displacing nearly 20,000 families in need of shelter and essential aid.
The devastating effects of the disaster could be seen everywhere - from the roofs of mud-swamped homes where some families were camping to survive, to the makeshift shelters that were starting to crumble down after months of exposure to the elements.
The floodwater is not expected to recede anytime soon, so families may not be able to get back to their homes until the end of the year.
We have provided families that were affected the most with essential aid items like solar lights, mosquito nets, blankets and shelter kits.
Mirta lives with her husband and younger daughter in a temporary settlement in Asuncion, Paraguay. They moved there after severe flooding forced them from their homes. Mirta told us:
Mirta and her husband received a shelter kit with the necessary tools to rebuild their home once the floodwaters recede. She told us it meant a great deal to have their own as, before they had received the aid, they had to borrow other people’s tools.
Mirta also said that she really liked the grey blankets because they are soft, “they are thick and they don’t make you scratch.”
How has ShelterBox responded?
We’ve worked with our trusted partners Habitat for Humanity and the Paraguayan Red Cross to provide vital aid to 3,000 families in Asuncion. Aid distributions are now complete. People have received:
- ShelterKits with strong tarpaulins and the tools they need to build sturdy shelters.
- Mosquito nets as a way to protect from deadly diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.
- Blankets to help communities to keep warm during the coldest months of the year.
- Solar lights to allow people to move around after dark when there’s no electricity.
You can give vital aid to families around the world who have been affected by disaster today.
Adolfo and Miguel's story
When we spoke to Adolfo and his son Miguel, they were using their shelter kit to work on their new shelter. They were living in the temporary settlement called REI Catorce in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Adolfo’s home had been severely damaged by extreme flooding. Little Miguel's tricycle had also been damaged by the floods, but Adolfo managed to salvage it. When we met Adolfo, he was using the wire from the shelter kit to repair the tricycle and bring joy to little Miguel once again.
The family is planning to move back to their home once the floodwaters recede, and use the tools and aid items they received to fix their home.
He has already used one of the tarpaulins to better weatherproof their temporary home on an outside wall, and he's planning to reuse it on their original home when they move back.
Aid items provided to families
What is El Niño?
The heavy rains in Paraguay have been linked to El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean.
El Niño is the name used to describe the slight warming of the surface waters of the Pacific. It’s a natural phenomenon that usually occurs every few years.
El Niño can have a devastating effect on weather patterns around the world. The warm waters often trigger a drought in Southeast Asia, mild winters in western Canada and, for Paraguay, it usually triggers above-average rain (source: Met Office).
Disasters never stop
We have responded to flooding in Paraguay four times so far, supporting families with the essential tools and aid items they needed to rebuild.
Your support helped people like Ramon, whose home was badly damaged after the 2014 floods. Ramon and his wife had to leave everything behind and move to a temporary shelter, without knowing when they would return.
Using his ShelterKit, Ramon was able to go back to his home after the floodwaters receded and repair it. Moving back to a permanent home meant that he and his family could be together again, under the warmth of a sturdy shelter. He said: