Throughout December 2015 and January 2016, large areas of the Southern Cone were hit by devastating floods, affecting approximately 160,000 people in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Entre Rios in north-eastern Argentina has been hit hard by unusually high rainfall that is part attributed to the weather phenomenon El Niño. The heavy rains caused the Uruguay River – the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay – to rise above 16 metres, bursting its banks and spilling into nearby towns.
In the small town of Concordia, around 20,000 people were affected by floods. Some 2,000 were evacuated, half of them children, according to Red Cross Argentina. The NGO has labelled the floods “the most complex in history”.
Meteorologists have labelled this year´s El Niño a ”Super El Niño”, as temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have risen some 2.3 degrees. The two previous ”Super El Niño´s” have both returned in March, and traditionally the area experiences heavy seasonal rain that month. Based on that, the threat of further floods remains even as the people of Concordia start to pick up the pieces from the recent catastrophe.
We travelled to Concordia with Red Cross Argentina, and met some of the people that were evacuated a month ago, and talked to them about returning to what is left of their homes. Despite the devastation and ongoing risks, the overwhelming message is one of defiance: they say they won´t leave.
All photos by Peter Lykke Lind.