BUENOS AIRES – A town in the northern Argentine province of Entre Rios has been flooded for two months by the rising Paraguay and Parana rivers, forcing residents to use a system of improvised canals to get around on the water.
Villa Paranacito, home to about 4,200 people, is periodically flooded when the rivers overflow their banks.
“In the main street, the water is up to our waists,” said Mariana Romero, an official with the provincial education department, adding that residents created a water taxi system with rowboats to help people get around.
The beginning of the school year was delayed one week due to the flooding and residents helped city officials put in entrances to the upper levels of school buildings, Romero said.
The head of public works in Entre Rios, architect Esteban Mazaeda, told EFE that the process of retrofitting a school required using concrete platforms to link the upper levels of all buildings in the school complex.
The really big problem is obtaining drinking water because the water processing plant’s underground pipes are now also underwater, making maintenance impossible.
Ranchers in the region have had to move livestock to dry areas, increasing the cost of moving the herds and leasing pastures for grazing.
Both Romero and Mazaeda agreed that not much else can be done to deal with swollen rivers since, as the education official said, “you cannot fight against nature.”
Dikes and levees to contain rising river waters are options that have already been implemented, but they are not enough to contain the swollen rivers, Mazaeda said.
“You have to adapt, and after that everything comes natural,” Romero said.