Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

The critical level of the Paraguay River corners the poor neighborhoods of Asunción

The critical level of the Paraguay River corners the poor neighborhoods of Asunción



The Paraguay River reached today 6.85 meters high as it passes through Asunción, a critical level that has cornered the residents of the poorest neighborhoods of the Paraguayan capital, who have been forced to leave their homes again together to the channel to settle in the public road.

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According to the latest data provided by the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN), there are about 10,000 affected families in Asunción, representing some 50,000 people.

Residents of areas such as Bañado Sur, La Chacarita or Trinidad are the most affected by the heavy floods that have flooded their homes, while the level of the river continues to grow and approaches the 8 meters high that mark the state of catastrophe.

The residents of the damaged areas recognize that the flooding has had worse consequences than the last great flood of the river that caused the departure of more than 8,260 families (41,300 people) from their homes in October of last year, six months ago.

On this occasion, the rise of the river has reached some areas of Bañado Norte, which had not reached the water in the previous flood, as the refuge of La Esperenza, where 16 families have lived for about two years.

The refugees remained in that place waiting for the Government to offer them definitively a decent home, after their homes were expropriated for the construction of the Costanera Norte, a bypass located along the riverbank.

"Unfortunately, the refuge did not reach the water previously, but this year the river came half angry and reached us and we had to be relocated again due to the flooding of the river," community leader Luis Masiel told Efe.

Families have now settled in wooden huts with portable urinals, a few meters from the Costanera, where thousands of vehicles circulate daily.

Masiel lamented that the Executive has not yet given them a definitive alternative, despite the fact that they rejected "compensation" for their expropriated land, in exchange for receiving an official home in a nearby location.

"We reject the compensation to give a decent life to our families," added the community leader, who recalled that the "bureaucracy in the transfer of land" between the Municipality and the Government is delaying his "dream of a home."

In the shelter live families like Eugenio Ortiz who along with his wife and three children has undergone a change of life since the Executive changed their residence.

Ortiz expects the government to take his situation "as an example" when he undertakes the work of the Costanera Sur, on the other side of the city, in a way that "puts in a safe place" the inhabitants of those neighborhoods so that "it does not happen more this. "

Ovidio Macareño, another of the residents of La Esperanza mobilized by the floods, explained to Efe the material "losses" generated by each flood of the river and the "sacrifice and effort" that is for the neighbors.

Macareño announced that if the Executive does not offer a response, they will continue to manifest daily and close traffic on the Costanera to make their demands visible.

"We have nowhere else to go because most of us here work humbly, we find it difficult to live elsewhere, to adapt to another area, which is why we are demanding that housing be done in the same area," he added.

The Government of Paraguay announced at the beginning of the week a project for the construction of some 5,000 official homes in the areas that are usually affected by the floods.

The proposal includes the construction of 1,800 homes in the Costanera Norte, 600 in the San Blas neighborhood, 600 in the Bozano neighborhood and about 2,000 in Tacumbú, in the Bañado Sur.

While the project remains anchored to the need to reach agreements with the Municipality of Asunción for the cession of land, the inhabitants of the poorest neighborhoods continue to see with concern the increase in the level of the river as it passes through the capital.

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