According to reports from the Argentina Navy outpost in Puerto Iguazu, pouring rains and floods have forced the closure of the Iguazu Park.
The UNESCO park is home to the world’s most famous waterfalls in the heartland of South America and is shared by Argentina and Brazil as it is situated across the two country’s and their border.
Flooding has forced the evacuation of at least 500 families from their homes on the Paraguayan soil which is part of the mighty Parana river basin that runs from the Pantanal (marshy lands) well inside Brazil to the River Plate.
In Iguazu Park, the catwalks and sight posts, from where tens of thousands of visitors every year contemplate and listen to the fantastic waterfalls have been covered by water. Vessels that take the tourists sightseeing along the huge lake where thousands of tons of water pour every second have also been cancelled.
Further along the Parana river, authorities have been forced to open the lock-gates of the world’s largest operating hydroelectric dam, Itaipu, to ease the increasing flow of water, which has been responsible for the unusual flooding at Iguazu.
Authorities have estimated that up to 10,000 people living close to the river in the Iguazu Falls area will have to be evacuated and taken to government refuges before the Parana river returns back to its normal flow and course.
Floods are expected to continue for another week and municipal crews, police forces, fire fighters and citizen’s support groups have been helping to evacuate the families exposed to the floods.
The Iguazu Falls Park is due to remain closed to tourists and locals living close to the river during the flooding. Once floodwaters recede, the Park will reopen but it is unclear how much the catwalks and sightposts may have been damaged.
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