MONTEVIDEO – Heavy rains that have fallen in several of Uruguay’s northern provinces have forced the evacuation of 4,192 people, the National Emergencies System, or Sinae, reported in a communique on Wednesday.
The rise in the Uruguay River has forced authorities to declare a state of emergency in the provinces of Artigas, Paysandu, Rivera and Salto
Of the total number of people who have had to leave their homes, 1,788 were evacuated by authorities and 2,404 left on their own, that is without official help.
By provinces, 1,184 people were affected in Artigas, 666 in Paysandu, 1,051 in Rivera and 1,289 in Salto.
In addition, two people were displaced in central Florida province.
The Sinae report says that some people who evacuated on their own have not been counted in the total, and so in some provinces “the estimates are that there are a larger number of displaced people” than have been officially recorded.
Sinae said that the level of the Uruguay River in the city of Bella Union, Artigas, was at 8.58 meters (28.1 feet), whereas its maximum safe level is 6.5 meters (21.3 feet).
In Paysandu, the river level has been measured at 7.96 meters (26.1 feet), more than 2 meters (3.6 feet) above its maximum safe level.
In Salto, however, the water level stands at 15.5 meters (50.8 feet), more than 3 meters (9.8 feet) above the safe level.
To date, the flooding has taken the lives of two people, Sinae director Fernando Traversa reported on Tuesday.
The state-run UTE electricity company, meanwhile, said that 5,100 customers have been affected nationwide due to the flooding, although company personnel are working to reestablish service for them.