Some 12,000 people in central Uruguay were forced to leave their homes on 10 May following the worst floods to hit the country in half a century. In coordination with the local Emergency Committee, SOS Children's Villages in Uruguay has been providing help to families and children from the neighbouring community in the town of Florida.
In Florida, a small town 100 kilometres north of Montevideo, hundreds of houses have been damaged by the floods. Local residents are either living with friends and relatives or they are residing in makeshift shelters in schools and the local football stadium.
Over the past weeks, the SOS Children's Village in Florida has been providing help in the form of food, clothes and medicine for some 250 flood-hit families from the local community. "Although the municipal government of Florida is providing the victims with basic nourishment, it is simply not enough. Therefore, we are also helping the victims," said Nancy Martinez, an employee of SOS Children's Villages.
In addition, the SOS Social Centre in Florida is providing day-care for some 75-80 children from affected families. "The children need to be shown another reality; they are taken to the SOS Social Centre every day, where they can play safely and receive a couple of nutritious meals during the day," added Nancy Martinez.
During the first days of the floods, SOS Children's Villages in Uruguay also evacuated some 130 people from their flooded homes. Nancy Martinez said that many of these families already lived in poverty and they were reluctant to leave their flooded homes because they feared that the few possessions they did have would be stolen.