ASUNCIóN, Paraguay, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Several countries in South America, particularly Paraguay, are facing catastrophic levels of flooding, forcing more than 150,000 people to evacuate.
The El Nino weather pattern is blamed for causing heavy rains that caused three major rivers to rise, BBC News reports. At least six people have died. Local officials said the flooding is the worst seen in 50 years.
Paraguay is under a state of emergency, and about 130,000 people have fled their homes. In Argentina, about 20,000 people have been evacuated.
Uruguay and Brazil have also been affected by flooding but dry weather is expected in the coming days. Wet weather is forecast for Paraguay and Argentina, where waters are expected to continue to rise.
Paraguay’s national emergencies office said the flooding “was directly influenced by the El Nino phenomenon which has intensified the frequency and intensity of rains.”
In Asunción, Paraguay’s capital, a river is about 12 inches away from over flooding its banks, which officials said would make the situation worse.