Native communities in the Chaco isolated by rain

Posted on March 8, 2011

I haven’t been able to visit my study communities for the last 3 weeks because the road has been closed due to the rain.  There’s only one paved road in the Chaco (aside from some of the municipal roads inside the Mennonite colonies), so lots of communities have been affected:

Comunidades nativas del Chaco aisladas por las últimas lluvias

Comunidades nativas del Chaco están aisladas debido a las últimas lluvias registradas en la zona. Los accesos están inundados y los pueblos indígenas se quedaron sin la posibilidad de abastecerse de alimentos y medicamentos.Las cámaras de Telefuturo fueron hasta el Chaco para constatar la realidad de las comunidades aborígenes.

De acuerdo a los reportes meteorológicos, en diversos sitios chaqueños cayeron entre 630 y 650 milímetros de agua durante la semana pasada, lo que provocó que varios de los accesos a las comunidades aborígenes quedaran intransitables.

via Comunidades nativas del Chaco aisladas por las últimas lluvias –

My translation:

Native communities in the Chaco isolated by latest rain

Native communities in the Chaco have been isolated due to the recent rain in the region.  Access points are flooded and indigenous peoples are stuck without possibility of stocking up food and medications.  The cameras from Telefuturo went to the Chaco to confirm the current conditions of aboriginal communities.

According to weather reports in various locations of the Chaco between 630 and 650 millimetres of rain fell during the last week, causing several access points to aboriginal communities to remain inaccessible.

Click here or on the link above to see the video from Telefuturo.

This is very worrying.  Before I left the communities the almacens were already low on certain supplies, and this much water could flood their crops.  I’m not sure exactly how much rain the communities themselves got, since there are no weather stations.  And I can’t just make a phone call to the communities to ask how they are doing!

The delay from the rain has pretty effectively ruined some of my research plans.  I am working on new plans to try to maximize my data gathering while I am in Paraguay but unable to reach my study communities.  One of the ideas I am considering is adding another study community that is near enough to the TransChaco to be accessible even in all this rain.  This morning I met with some indigenous leaders who were in Asuncion to see if their communities would be interested in participating.  I got a good response, but now I have to think hard about logistical considerations…

Posted in: Fieldwork