Since late January to date, heavy rains, floods, overflowing rivers, mudslides, hailstorms and snowfalls are affecting several countries of South America, most affected being Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. The Pacific coast and the Andean highlands have suffered from exceptionally high levels of rain, while Amazonian plains are mainly flooded by water flowing from the Andes. To date, more than 1.2 million people are affected.
While the situation was already worrying at the end of February, it has steadily worsened, reaching the highest level of impact at the beginning of April and extending the emergency to the Central Chaco in Paraguay.
In coastal, Amazonian and Chaco plains, rivers have been overflowing for several months, forcing people to flee and abandon their homes and stay in houses of relatives or collective shelters which often are not managed by any institution. As water is still high, it is not clear when these people will be able to return to their homes and in which conditions.
In mountain areas and highlands, landslides have provoked total destruction in localized municipalities. In these cases, houses have either collapsed or have been severely affected, and people have also lost all their belongings just before the winter season, which they will face in extremely vulnerable conditions.
Poor sanitary conditions, vast surfaces of stagnant waters and cold temperatures foreseen in the short term sharply increase the risk of waterborne and respiratory diseases.