Argentina: Salta Floods (MDRAR015) DREF Operations Update n° 1

Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 31 January 2018, heavy rains that fell in the northern part of Salta province in north-eastern Argentina, coupled with rainfall in the upper basin of the Bermejo and Pilcomayo Rivers (Paraguay-Bolivia border), caused a rise in water levels that flooded areas along the banks of the Pilcomayo River. Water levels far exceeded alert and evacuation levels, displacing more than 17,000 people and leaving 100 people isolated and incommunicado.

Total and partial damage to housing, principally in water and sanitation, were reported, which compounded the affected families’ vulnerability and augured a difficult return home. Power outages and damage to main and rural roads were also reported. Family farming activities, small livestock farming (mainly goats, sheep and pigs) and subsistence fishing, which are characteristic of indigenous and Creole communities in the area, were also affected.

Indigenous-creole multi-culturalism issues, such as risk perception, family dynamics, livelihoods, health practices, hygiene habits, community organizing, among others, pose a challenge to the response approach because these conditions exacerbate feelings of anxiety, insecurity and stress in individuals, families and communities.