Uruguay declares an agricultural emergency in the east due to flooding

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The government of Uruguay declared an agricultural emergency due to excess water in two departments located on the border with Brazil, while more than 2,800 people remained displaced due to floods caused by storms over the last two months, authorities reported this Wednesday (22). The Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Fernando Mattos, said that the decree covers 1,200,000 hectares in the departments of Rocha and Treinta y Tres in the country’s east. “This is due to the significant amount of rainfall we have had in recent weeks”, the minister told journalists. He added that the floods caused “a drop in productivity” in rice and soybean crops, compromised pastures, and forced livestock to be transferred to higher areas.

The agricultural emergency, which will be in force for 120 days, will allow the use of national resources to help producers. The National Emergency System (Sinae) reported this Wednesday that 2,861 displaced people across the national territory, of which 412 were taken to shelters, and 2,449 took refuge in the homes of relatives or friends. “The general situation remains stable, the level of watercourses continues to fall, and the number of displaced people has slightly decreased”, highlighted Sinae. The Uruguayan government declared an agricultural emergency due to excess water a few months after the closure of another, but due to a water deficit.

Mattos highlighted that the areas that flooded five months ago were affected by drought and warned that Uruguay could suffer the devastation currently affecting the other side of the border, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, following persistent rains. “It is clear that we are not prepared for this”, said the Uruguayan minister, who added: “The cause of climate change is human action, and human action, especially in developed countries, which have committed, through the Paris Agreement, to allocate resources to developing countries, which are increasingly vulnerable to climate variability.”

Mattos said he is waiting for the water level to be reduced before making a final damage assessment. Between 2020 and 2023, Uruguay suffered an intense drought, which led to the declaration of four agricultural emergencies, the last one in force for the entire national territory from October 2022 to December 2023. According to official estimates, the direct damage and losses to the agricultural sector due to the water deficit reached 1.9 billion dollars (9.8 billion reais).

Source: Jovempan


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