Emergency Drought and Forest Fire Relief (Provision of Supplies) to the Republic of Paraguay (report #1)

Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) performance

  • Secretariat of the Japan Disaster Relief Team

The following is a report on emergency relief (provision of supplies) to the Republic of Paraguay as authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 5:33 pm, November 17 (Wed), after consultations with the Ministry of Finance.

1. Emergency Situation

Due to an absence of rainfall during a two-month period beginning in December, forest fires have broken out in various parts of the departments of Concepcion and San Pedro (rainfall had already been extremely light since June, causing the worst drought seen in 55 years). The two regions contain poor agricultural and pasture lands where, with the exception of a few cities, there are no waterworks facilities. Residents meet their daily water needs with water obtained from wells. However the wells have dried up due to the drought, forcing residents to drink unsanitary water from ponds. As a result some 2-3000 persons are suffering from diarrhea, dehydration, and other problems.

number of affected persons: approx. 160,000 (roughly 34% of the population of Concepcion and San Pedro)
destroyed forest land (area): 5,000 ha
pineapple and banana crop losses: \170 million
wheat crop losses \25 million (45% of the average yearly harvest)

2. Response of the Paraguayan Government

The government declared a state of emergency on September 29, and the National Emergency Relief Committee has provided food (70 tons), tents and plywood boards to the affected areas. Although water has been distributed in both departments using water trucks, the insufficient number of trucks has meant that most areas are not receiving adequate amounts of sanitary drinking water. On November 5, a note was delivered from the Paraguayan Foreign Minister to the Japanese embassy in Paraguay requesting emergency relief supplies.

3. Response of the International Community

USA : $75,000 cash from USAID
International Red Cross : $120,000

4. Response of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the request from the Paraguayan government, and after consultations with the Ministry of Finance, authorized provision of the following items through JICA:

Breakdown of supplies (from the JICA warehouse in the United States) water tanks : 1,200
water purifiers : 18
(procured from UNICEF)
medicine and medical equipment sets : 3

Estimated cost of relief supplies: approx. \11 million
Transport schedule: arrangements are being made for transport to Asuncion on the earliest available flight

5. Additional Remarks

Japan and Paraguay enjoy a special relationship due to the activities of Japanese descendants living in Paraguay (and especially their contribution to agriculture), economic cooperation from Japan, and other factors. Beyond the pro-Japanese sentiment displayed by ordinary citizens, Paraguay consistently supports Japanese candidates running for election to positions in international agencies. The Paraguayan government has also demonstrated a pro-Japanese stance, and this tradition has continued despite changes in administration through the years.

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