Thousands displaced by floods in Uruguay

MONTEVIDEO – Heavy rains have caused flooding in Uruguay, forcing almost 3,500 people to leave their homes in the South American country.

The worst affected area is the north-western province of Salto, on the border with Argentina, where almost 2,000 people were evacuated.

The provinces of Paysandú and Artigas have also been hit.

Uruguay’s defence minister said the army, navy and air force were helping with the evacuation.

More heavy rains have been forecast for the coming days and the authorities fear the Uruguay river could rise further, putting more towns at risk.

Some residents who had to flee their homes have been sheltering in temporary accommodation, while others are staying with relatives or friends in drier areas.

In December 2015, more than 150,000 people in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil were driven from their homes by some of the worst flooding in decades.