Paraguay: Floods - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) (MDRPY019)

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

In Asunción, 30,225 people (6,085 families) were evacuated to 109 temporary collective centres set up by the Municipality of Asunción and one collective centre managed by the National Emergency Secretariat in a military site in Bañado Tacumbú. On 1 November 2018, the Asunción municipal government declared a 90-day citywide emergency. Over the last few weeks, the number of affected people has increased, and the Paraguayan government has had to evacuate them and install improvised temporary lodgings to house them. The rains are expected to continue, putting those who have chosen to remain in their home at risk and threatening to increase the affected population’s humanitarian needs. To date, there has been 1,561.7 mm of rainfall in the affected area from 1 January 2018 to 23 November 2018, including a sharp increase from October to November 2018; the rainfall total for 2018 is 350.8 mm higher than the yearly average for the affected region2. The unusually heavy rainfall has oversaturated the soil in the affected area and put riverine communities in danger, and recent forecasts suggest that the rainfall will continue unabated, further worsening the situation. The perilousness of the affected communities, the forecasts of additional rainfall and the precipitous rise in rainfall in November prompted the PRC to request a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

The most affected areas are to the south of Asunción along the banks of the Paraguay River known as Bañado Sur, which includes the neighbourhoods of Tacumbú, Santa Ana, San Cayetano, Sajonia and Yukyty; to the north in Bañado Norte, including the neighbourhoods of Tablada Nueva, Mburicaó and Banco San Miguel; and the area of La Chacarita area, including the neighbourhoods of 3 de Febrero, Oriental, Resistencia, San Pedro, San Vicente and San Felipe. The impact suffered by families in Bañado Norte and Bañado Sur can mainly be attributed to three factors: a) the unusual flooding of the Paraguay River; b) recent road works; and c) poor coordination between the institutions working in the affected area. There are many risks in the collective centres, beginning with the lack of space for the families that will continue to be evacuated and the uneasy coexistence with residents due to the occupation of public spaces.

According to the Hydrometeorological Report issued for the Paraguay River by the Meteorology and Navigation Directorate on 19 November 2018, the atypical flooding is due to the significant amount of rainfall recorded in the last week in the Paraguay River's middle basin. In Asunción, the Paraguay River has already exceeded critical levels (5.50 m), and according to predictions, the river will reach a height of seven metres in December 2018 (8 metres for total evacuation)3, surpassing alert levels. Moreover, it is likely that levels will progressively increase due to the rains seen in recent days.