Storms and flooding has put a powerful damper on the Christmas mood in several South American countries. Seven people have died, while nearly 150,000 are driven from their homes.
Worst affected is Paraguay, where four people have died and 130,000 have been evacuated as a result of heavy rain and thunderstorms in recent days. President Horacio Cartes has declared a state of emergency and released large sums of money to emergency funds.
The leader of the national crisis management agency, David Arellano, said that rescue and evacuation operations have been implemented to help families because of floodwater from the Paraguay River. In addition, over 125,000 homes are without electricity.
Also Bolivia and Argentina have experienced deaths from the storm. In the village Guayaramerin north of Bolivia, two people drowned, while a 13-year-old boy in Corrientes in Argentina was killed when he was electrocuted by a loose power cable.
- It is the worst flooding in 50 years, says mayor Enrique Crest in the Argentine city of Concordia, located at the riverbed.
He added that flooding was expected due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, but that no one had thought they would be hit so severe.
Also in Uruguay there is declared state of emergency in three areas north of the country due to flooding.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon that occurs when the surface water in parts of the Pacific becomes unusually warm. The UN has stated that El Niño - the kid - in 2015 is at its worst in 15 years.
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