Unusually heavy rains are devastating urban and rural parts of Paraguay. The CWS-supported indigenous communities in the Lower Chaco region are among those affected. On May 13, the National Secretary for Emergencies reported that more than 62,000 families have been affected. Eleven people, including two indigenous children from the Lower Chaco communities, have died.*
CWS and our partner CIPAE – Comité de Iglesias- work with six communities near Pozo Colorado, five hours from Asunción. The program focuses on food security, clean water access and raising women’s voices. Flooding has left some roads impassable, cutting off the communities. Families are running out of food and income because they cannot work as day laborers on nearby ranches, hunt or gather honey to sell. Flooding has destroyed vegetable gardens and crops, and small animals are dying.
Our ecumenical partner CIPAE has asked CWS for support to provide emergency aid to 1,800 people (640 families) in these six communities. CWS has approved emergency funding to support the immediate response. In the next month, that response will include:
- Assembling and distributing Family Food Kits. Each kit will include flour, sugar, noodles, rice, vegetable oil, crackers, yerba mate and salt. These 77-pound kits will last for a month for a family of four, and are made up of items suggested by authorities.
- Ensuring that Ministry of Health doctors and nurses can get to and from affected communities to provide health services.
- Supporting advocacy efforts to demand assistance from municipal, department and national authorities.
This is the initial response. Over the course of the next month, CIPAE and CWS will assess the damage caused by the flooding. This includes lost income and the ways of earning a living that are no longer viable. It also includes damage to houses and infrastructure like water systems and schools. We will design a rehabilitation and recovery plan in partnership with community leaders and local authorities
HOW TO HELP
Contributions to support all CWS emergency response efforts may be made online or sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.