ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) – The Paraguay River region has reached its lowest level in half a century after months of extreme drought, highlighting the vulnerability of the land-pollinated Paraguay economy.
About 85% of Paraguay’s foreign trade operates through the river, which has ended due to lack of rainfall in the Pantanlal region of Mato Grosso State in Brazil. The river flows through that region and also runs through Bolivia and Argentina.
The drop in water level has slowed cargo ship traffic on the Paraguay River, leading to significant costs for the transportation of fuel, fertilizer, food and other imported goods. The crisis has also highlighted the uncertainty of Paraguay’s access to drinking water.
He said, “We have never had the situation we are experiencing now.” We are coming to the end of the year, a time when more products will have to be recorded, ”Neri Giménez, president of the Paragayan Importers Center, told The Associated Press.
The government had announced strict measures related to the river pandemic, but the river’s problem has reduced hopes of a resurgence of economic activity.
Esteban dos Santos, president of Paraguay’s Shipowners Center, said the damage to Paraguay’s river transport sector had already reached $ 250 million.
“What worries us most is that the river is going down at a rate of 3 or 4 centimeters (1.2 to 1.6 in) per day. Navigation conditions are critical. In a week, no boat will reach Asynchron, ”said Dos Santos.
If the situation continues to worsen, Paraguay may face major price increases and fuel and other shortages. Wildlife has also broken up in some parts of the country due to dry conditions.
The declining level of the Paraguay River has caused a surprise: a rocky islet in Asincon that geologists say is part of an extinct volcano that has been extinct for over 4 million years.