Uruguay floods cause 600 homeless on New Year's eve

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MONTEVIDEO, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- At least 626 Uruguayans had to celebrate the arrival of the New Year in temporary shelters due to the long-lasting floods that, in the worst cases, had begun since last November.

The National Emergency System (NES) of Uruguay said on Friday that these people had to be evacuated from several regions where rivers overflowed their banks.

The NES said the overflow of the Negro River, in the Northwest of Uruguay, which is now 6.55 meters higher than its normal level, forced 293 residents in the nearby Mercedes City to abandon their homes on New Year's eve.

Meanwhile the Uruguay River, fluvial border between the country and Argentina, which a month ago caused more than 6,000 homeless people in the nearby region is descending to its habitual level.

The NES said that there are still some 200 people staying at the shelters of nearby Salto City and another 100 in Paysandu City, with hope of returning home soon.

In 2007, Uruguay was hit by the worst floods in the past five decades, resulting in more than 12,000 homeless people and huge economic losses.

Editor: Fang Yang