Thousands of families in Paraguay’s capital city, Asuncion, have been driven from their homes after devastating flooding.
Torrential rains have 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 who urgently need shelter and essential aid.
The devastating effects of the disaster can be seen everywhere - from the roofs of mud-swamped homes where some families are camping to survive, to the makeshift shelters that are starting to crumble down after months of exposure to the elements.
But the situation for the thousands of families affected is about to get even worse. As Paraguay enters its coldest months, with temperatures dropping as low as 6°C, the need for shelter continues to increase.
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.
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).
How is ShelterBox responding?
We’re working with our trusted partner Habitat for Humanity and the Paraguayan Red Cross to provide vital aid to 3,000 families in Asuncion.
People will receive ShelterKits with strong tarpaulins and the tools they need to build sturdy shelters. Mosquito nets will be provided to people as a way to protect from deadly diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. Blankets will help communities to keep warm during the coldest months of the year, and solar lights will allow them to move around after dark when there’s no electricity.
You can give vital aid to families in Paraguay and around the world who have been affected by disaster today.
Aid items families need
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: