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Floods displace 250,000 in Paraguay, Brazil


MONTEVIDEO, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Floods have driven some 250,000 people from their homes in Paraguay and Brazil, authorities said on Monday.

In Paraguay, the UN children's fund (UNICEF) said 200,000 people had been displaced after heavy rains triggered river floods.

"We compiled the data and according to the figures, some 200,000 people have been affected," UNICEF's deputy regional representative, Paulo Sassarao, told local media in the capital Asuncion.

The total number of families displaced is estimated at 40,000, according to on-site surveys by UNICEF, government authorities and other agencies.

Sassarao said UNICEF was working with agencies to ensure access to basic needs for homeless people, especially children.

Floods have hit nine of Paraguay's 17 provinces, with the capital the hardest hit by the swollen Paraguay River.

In neighboring Brazil's southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, more than 50,000 people have been displaced by flooding, local authorities said.

About 6,000 people have seen their homes damaged by floods or buried under mudslide.

More than 100 towns were affected by heavy rains, with the state of emergency declared in 13 towns in Rio Grande do Sul and 18 in Santa Catarina.

Several federal and state highways in the region were damaged by the floods, and power and water supplies were interrupted in some communities.

Reports said some 12,000 people in Argentina have also been evacuated.