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SOUTH AMERICA
El Niño’s impact
2/18/2010
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Considered moderate, this season’s phenomenon brings devastation.

This season´s El Niño has left some 200,000 people homeless, as floods ravaged parts of the region.

The phenomenon, caused by higher-than-normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, was forecast to be moderate, but proved to be deadly.

In Bolivia, 100,000 people were left homeless after heavy floods ravaged the country, particularly in the highland departments.

In neighboring Peru, some 60,000 people were homeless in the Cuzco and Puno departments and 2,000 tourists were airlifted from the town near the Machu Picchu ruins — Peru´s top tourist site — after the Vilcanota River overflowed its banks and flooded the tracks of the train, the only route to the city of Cuzco, aside from an at least three-day hike.

Heavy rains turned deadly in Brazil, where floods and landslides killed 200 people and left 80,000 homeless in the Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo states.

According to a report last year on climate change in the region by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 70 percent of South America is suffering from repeated flooding because of deforestation and soil degradation. The region is particularly vulnerable to climatic phenomena such as El Niño, it said.

El Niño, however, has caused the opposite effect in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Paraguay, where drought has damaged crops and led to water and energy shortages.
—Noticias Aliadas.

SOUTH AMERICA
Soil degradation

 Country
Degraded area Km²
Percentage of degraded land % 
Paraguay
66,704
16.4
Peru
197,211
15.3
Ecuador
40,136
14.2
Chile
77,230
10.2
Bolivia
60,339
5.5

Source: ECLAC


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