USAID Provides Wildfire Assistance to Paraguay

 USAID Provides Wildfire Assistance to Paraguay

15 September 2007

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Paraguay — The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing $100,000 for firefighting equipment to the Government of Paraguay to assist those affected by the wildfires in that country.

As part of this commitment, through an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, USAID is funding the shipment of firefighting equipment from Forest Service stockpiles in the U.S. to Paraguay. USAID also deployed a forest fire specialist from its regional office in Costa Rica to conduct assessments and determine needs, in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Asuncion and USAID/Paraguay.

As of September 13, wildfires in northern Paraguay have destroyed nearly 370,000 acres of crops, pasture, and forest, affecting at least 9,000 families, according to preliminary estimates by the Government of Paraguay (GOP). The fires began due to a lack of rainfall over the past five months, compounded by intense heat and slash-and-burn agriculture. On September 12, the GOP declared a national emergency due to fires in Asuncion, Canindeyu, Concepcion, and San Pedro departments. The GOP has sent 120 firefighters and approximately 500 soldiers to control the fires and has provided food to affected populations.

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