ASUNCION – Roughly 70,000 of the 75,000 Asuncion residents displaced last December by flooding have returned to their homes, an official of Paraguay’s SEN emergency management agency told EFE on Wednesday.
SEN operations chief David Avendaño said the return has been gradual as the waters of the Paraguay River have receded.
Only about 5,000 people remain in shelters, he said.
The Asuncion municipal government, however, estimates the number of displaced people at roughly 100,000 and says that 12,000 of them continue living in shelters, with relatives, or in accommodations they rented since the flooding.
Six weeks ago, SEN and the city administration launched Operation Return, aimed at assisting displaced families still living in temporary shacks scattered across parks and other public spaces in Asuncion.
The Paraguay River is currently at the 3.18-meter (12.5-ft.) mark in Asuncion, down from 7.88 meters (25.8 ft.) at the beginning of the year.
Before allowing people to return to their homes, SEN and the state-owned utilities re-established power, water and sewer service and inspected homes to ensure they were habitable, Avendaño said.
Houses damaged by the floods where reinforced and authorities provided vehicles to move residents’ belongings, he said.