Paraguay Fires: OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Paraguay Fires: OCHA Situation Report No. 2

19 September 2007

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1. On 16 September, the departments of San Pedro and Concepcion witnessed rainfall of 15-20 litres per square metre, and most of the fires in these regions have been extinguished.

2. According to National Emergency Secretariat reports forest and pasture fires destroyed a million of hectares. Disperse rainfall on 15,16 and 17 September in the north eastern region of Paraguay finally extinguished more than 5.000 fire.

3. Economical loses estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock amount to over USD 30 million in large pastures zone, large crops and small farmers’ lands. Up to date, eight people have died over 60 houses and small ranches were destroyed according to the fast assessment provided by the UN field team. However, quantification in remote areas and settlements is still missing. Some 25.000 families were directly affected by the fire.

4. The most affected areas are located in Villa Hayes (Chaco), Concepción, San Pedro, Amambay, Canindeyú and Caazapá.

5. One of the most affected departments is San Pedro in which 50% of the population (4,000 families) lost their production and food security became the second contingency to assist, especially in “campesinos”` settlements.

6. The most affected provinces in the department of San Pedro have been Tacuati – where the entire population was evacuated – and Nueva Germania – where 70 percent was reported to have been consumed by the flames. Some 35 families have lost their homes and their land has been damaged in San Pablo, a province in the department of San Pedro. The principal sources of income – orange and corn plantations – have been severely damaged. Recent data provided by the General Secretary in the department of Concepción, confirms that the most affected communities are Hugua Po, I Zanja Cue and Horqueta. Some roads are blocked, especially in the San Pedro Area.

7. Additionally, biodiversity loss is expected to be substantial, since preliminary reports show that most national parks have been affected.

Immediate needs:

8. Immediate needs include nebulizers and oxygen, water provision, medical assistance and coordination units. Specifically:

– Food kits for 1,922 persons in San Pedro, Concepcion, and other regions.

– Water for 3,860 families from Concepcion region.

– Medicine for the treatment of acute respiratory infections


9. The Secretary of National Emergency (Secretaría de Emergencia Nacional, SEN) of Paraguay will be distributing food parcels to 75,000 people affected as well as roofing materials. National response is now focused in food and water supply and more than 150 tons of aid expected to be distributed during this week. Food security should be guaranteed for 5 months until the summer crops are available if soil conditions are recovered, especially in small farmer’s ranches.

10. The Ministry of Health is also assisting affected communities suffering from allergic and respiratory affections due to the smoke.


11. The UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) is monitoring the situation, in cooperation with national authorities and the Red Cross.

12. A UN coordination and assessment team is still in the affected departments to evaluate the situation together with the Secretariat of Emergencies and supporting operations of the National Emergency Secretariat and local emergency committees.

13. The request for assistance to the European Commission Civil Protection System, which had received a positive reply from Italy, has been withdrawn by the government of Paraguay.

14. UNDP is supporting the national coordination structures and holding coordination meetings with the donors.

15. Representatives of governments, the European Union, and bilateral cooperation suggested to support the government assessments situation and needs and also requested support from the national government to clarify indicators in order to define their actions and potential assistance. A recovery plan elaborated during the past weekend will be presented shortly.

16. According to official sources, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Venezuela have shown their interest in supporting the Paraguayan government by sending relief items.

17. OCHA allocated USD 50,000 in emergency cash grant. The United States allocated USD 500,000 and Venezuela USD 1 million.

18. CHF 120,000 (USD 99,750 or EUR 72,993) were allocated from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to the needs of those affected by the fires.

For detailed information please contact:

Contact Details

Desk Officer:
(New York)
Mr. Ignacio León
Office Tel: +1 917 367-9960
Office Fax: +1 212 963-36 30

GCMS (Geneva):
Ms. Aoibheann O’Keeffe
Office Tel: +41 22 917 4329

OCHA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean:
Mr. Douglas Reimer
Regional Disaster Response Adviser
Office Tel. +507 317-1748
Office Fax +507 317-1744
Mobile: +507 6676-1689

Press Contact:
(New York)
Ms. Stephanie Bunker
Office Tel : + 1 917-367-5126
Office Fax: + 1 212-963-1312

Ms. Elizabeth Byrs Office
Tel + 41 22 917 26 53
Office Fax + 41 22 917 00 20


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