Executive Summary Emergency Context
During late 2011, The Chaco region was affected by persistent drought, and this was object of a field assessment by WSPA DM South America. Between April and May the Chaco region was again affected by floods caused by accumulated precipitations during a very short period of time (20 days) producing the overflowing of the River Pilcomayo and other secondary creeks, followed by the thaw of the Andean Mountains of Bolivia. The negative impact of these precipitous rains was further worsened by the topographic and soil conditions of the El Chaco region.
The most affected communities are located in Boqueron and Presidente Hayes. Over 16,000 families had taken the brunt of the affectation in their houses and livelihoods such as crops and the impact on trading and loss of jobs, and to a lesser extent the loss of farm animals, due to currents and the isolation caused by the destruction of roads. The region is characterized by a high percentage of indigenous people living on subsistence farming, hunting and fishing.
According to the authorities of the National Service for Animal Health (SENACSA), the National Emergency Service (SEN), the Paraguay Red Cross (CRP) and local producers from central Chaco, large animals have not been affected, since they are adapted to forage on flooded swampy pastures with the water level up to their knees, and their owners taking them back to dry areas every afternoon.
After the DART´s visit to el Chaco, it was apparent that the floods had caused damage to agriculture and livestock, although these losses could not be properly documented.