Hundreds of pets in Asunción, Paraguay have been abandoned by their owners after heavy flooding forced over 75,000 people in the capital and about 230,000 in the country out of their homes and into emergency shelters.
The overcrowded makeshift shelters built on the streets and parks don’t allow animals. “Poor people should be accepted with all their animals, but the Municipality won’t allow you to live with animals in the street,” said 44-year-old evacuee Lucio Oviedo.
Oviedo was able to remove his ten pigs and chickens from his flooded house, but not his two horses who are living in what is now a tiny island that is getting smaller.
Dogs, cats, chickens and pigs are surviving on the rooftops surrounded by flood water, waiting for their owners to return or for someone to bring them something to eat.
On the roof of Oviedo’s house, the only part that’s still visible, live tens of cats now. He often brings them fish he catches with fishing nets.
Others have refused to leave and abandon their animals. Juan Ramón Duarte, 17, lives on top of pieces of wood near his house. His house’s roof is occupied by the family’s dogs, cats, chickens and ducks, and others they have rescued.
Some people travel the streets by boat everyday rescuing animals, but they are overwhelmed.
Adriana Moreira, one of the rescuers, says she and a group of friends have rescued more than one hundreds animals including three piglets.
Dog trainer Christian Ávalos leads a group of young people who are also rescuing animals from the flood. They built a small emergency shelter in Ferusa, where they take the animals to be examined and hopefully adopted.
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Forecasters expect the waters to come down in the coming months, but say it will rise again later this year with the arrival of the austral summer, which is the rainy season.
Images from Animalitos Rescatados de la Inundación (Animals Rescued From the Flood).