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Plan International Warns of El Niño Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean

PANAMA, January 11, 2016 -- Children are at particular risk of the effects of the El Niño weather phenomenon currently being felt across Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Plan International is monitoring the development of El Niño, the worst global climate fluctuation in the last 15 years. It has heavy consequences: droughts, floods, and extreme solar radiation and temperature changes. For Plan International, safeguarding the rights of children is vital, taking into consideration all the risks tied with diseases such as cholera and dengue fever, which can affect the education of children," said Raúl Rodriguez Choto, Regional Disaster Risk Manager for Plan International in Latin America and the Caribbean.

South America could experience record flooding during the first quarter of 2016, and in Central America the effects of drought - particularly in the so-called dry corridor - were already being experienced in 2015. Some countries in Latin America have already launched mitigation and preparation activities, such as Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.

Disasters and crises bring particular dangers for girls, who are at greater risk of falling behind in their education and become more vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexual violence.

In Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, approximately 18,500 families were affected by floods in areas close to the Paraguay River. Almost 15,000 of them were evacuated to 117 temporary shelters located in public squares, military stations, schools, and sports fields.

In Paraguay, Plan International launched the “Añua, Space of Joy” project, a friendly and safe place where children from newborn to 7 years old can wait while their parents go out from the shelters to search for supplies.

Through leisure, recreational, and artistic activities, children receive emotional support and also have access to safe drinking water daily. This work is coordinated with other partners, institutions, and community organizations.

Plan International Paraguay is also present in Bañado Sur, together with other humanitarian partners and the Secretariat of national emergency, the Cháke Ou project, for disaster preparedness activities, funded by The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos from Paraguay can be found here (please credit Plan International): http://mediabank.plan-international.org/?c=25580&k=07934282c9

About Plan International USA
Plan International USA, part of the Plan International Federation, is a child-centered development organization that believes in the promise and potential of children. For more than 75 years in over 50 developing countries, Plan has been breaking the cycle of child poverty.  Everything Plan does  – from strengthening health care systems to improving the quality of education, to advocating for increased protection and beyond – is built with, and owned by, the community. The result is a development approach designed to improve the lives of the youngest members of the community for the longest period of time. For more information, please visit PlanUSA.org

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