Latin America & Caribbean

Paraguay villagers defy flood warning

Locals set up sand bags to prevent the waters to reach the city of Alberdi, 130 km south of Asuncion on December 30, 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Residents of Alberdi were trying to protect their village with sandbags

Residents of a village in south-eastern Paraguay are refusing to leave their homes even though flooding is imminent, officials say.

The Paraguay river has reached a height of 9.64m (32ft) in Alberdi in Neembucu province, and officials have warned that flood defences are about to burst.

But Neembucu's governor said locals had refused to follow advice to leave.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has triggered some of the worst floods seen in 50 years in the region.

Rising waters

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Homes closest to the river Paraguay are already under water
Image copyright AFP
Image caption While a small group of villagers has left, many are reluctant to leave their belongings

Dyke experts suggested as early as Saturday that resident should be evacuated.

National Emergency chief Joaquin Roa warned that a breach of the defences was imminent and would almost certainly lead to loss of life.

Neembucu Governor Carlos Silva said that people "do not want to believe they real danger they are in".

While the village itself is not yet flooded it has been cut off by the rising waters of the river Paraguay.

The army is helping villagers to cross the river Paraguay by boat to the Argentine city of Formosa.

From there, they are flown by military plane to the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Soldiers are helping villagers leave Alberdi by boat

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