Extensive rain over the weekend generated more flooding in the provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampa, with more than 5 million hectares affected. 120 millimeters of rain accumulated over the weekend in the center of the province of Buenos Aires near Azul, while similar amounts accumulated accrued across the country.
The most intense rain fell between 4 and 6 AM on September 10 and, as Perfil remarked, even though Argentina did not endure hurricanes Harvey or Irma, flooding has nevertheless impacted the area gravely.
The Confederation of Rural Associations of Buenos Aires and La Pampa (Carbap) reported that the flooding has damaged 25 percent of the national agriculture production, 34 percent of livestock nationwide, and 60 percent of livestock in the province of Buenos Aires. The organization estimates that the losses will amount to US $1.5 million.
Here’s a map that will help you visualize the magnitude of this disaster.
Argentina has been receiving an unusual amount of rain. Between July 15 and August 15, many areas received between 100 and 200 millimeters. During the second week of August, rain measured 75 millimeters, an unusual amount for this time of the winter. The usual for this time of the year ranges between 25 and 75 millimeters.
“The persistence of water in rural areas not only complicates production, it also affects the of the families who live there because they don’t have an ability to move,” Gabriel Bermudez and Gustavo Laurnagaray of Clarin explained. Indeed, families across the country were evacuated as a result of the flooding. In Pilar, 125 families were evacuated after 120 millimeters of rain fell in their area.
The flooding has also interrupted highway transportation. In La Pampa, there are three national routes that have been diverted as a result of the water: routes 5 (Buenos Aires to Santa Rosa), 35 (60 miles from the capital of La Pampa, and 188 (which crosses the country east to west).
— teleSUR TV (@teleSURtv) September 12, 2017
Recent natural disasters have turned attention toward land use, especially in the case of floods in Argentina. Miguel Ángel Taboada, the director of the Institute of Land at the National Institute of Agriculture and Livestock Technology, told Página 12 that the problem is not with increased rain, but with different land use.
“Esentially, what has happened in the last 25 years is the disappearance of 8 million hectares of pasture and 5 million hectares of forest, which consume a large amount of water each year,” Taboada said. He explained that the 13 million lost hectares were transformed into monocultures of soy which does not absorb water in the same way.
— TV Pública Argentina (@TV_Publica) September 12, 2017
Greenpeace Argentina released a statement earlier this year describing the relationship between flooding in Argentina, deforestation, and global climate change. The environmental NGO tied deforestation in Argentina to the increased probability of flooding. Hernán Giardini, the leader of Greenpeace’s campaign for the protection of forests, argued in April that “deforestation decreases biodiversity, displacement of farmers and indigenous people, generates climate change, and makes us more vulnerable to negative environmental impacts. One hectare of forest absorbs ten times more precipitation than a hectare with soybeans. More deforestation will create more flooding.”