JTA.org

In early January, Israel began donating food and assistance kits to help Paraguayans displaced by massive flooding in the region, the worst in half a century.

“The State of Israel is sympathetic to our sister nation of Paraguay in this difficult moment when thousands of citizens have been forced to leave their homes behind,” the Israeli Embassy in Asuncion said. “We are ready to support the government to provide humanitarian aid.”

Some 100,000 Paraguayans were displaced by the flooding caused by torrential rain that was triggered by the El Nino weather phenomenon and started falling in the region on Dec. 18. Some rivers reached a height of 32 feet and burst flood walls.

The flooding had a stronger impact on residents of low-lying slums, who sought shelter in camps on higher ground and ended up sleeping in improvised tents.

Another 50,000 people also were stricken by floods in bordering areas in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, but Paraguay was the most-affected nation.

Israel reopened its Paraguay embassy in July after it was closed in 2002 due to financial constraints. The countries have strong ties in the fields of anti-terrorism, trade, and agriculture.

Paraguay is home to a Jewish community of about 1,000.


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