What happened?

Thousands of families in Paraguay’s capital city, Asuncion, were driven from their homes after devastating flooding in 2019.

Torrential rains had been battering the area since March, causing the overflow of the Paraguay River.

The unusually heavy rain was linked to the climate pattern El Niño, and it displaced nearly 20,000 families in need of shelter and essential aid.

The devastating effects of the disaster could be seen everywhere – from the roofs of mud-swamped homes where some families were camping to survive, to the makeshift shelters that were starting to crumble down after months of exposure to the elements.

We provided families that were affected the most with essential aid items like solar lights, mosquito nets, blankets and shelter kits.

Mirta, a lady wearing glasses in Paraguay
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“I'm tired of always having to move each time there are floods, but we don't have another option. We simply can't afford to buy a home out of the flood-affected areas.” – Mirta, Paraguay

Mirta’s story

Mirta lives with her husband and younger daughter in a temporary settlement in Asuncion, Paraguay. They moved there after severe flooding forced them from their homes.

Mirta and her husband received a shelter kit with the necessary tools to rebuild their homes once the floodwaters recede. She told us it meant a great deal to have their own as, before they had received the aid, they had to borrow other people’s tools.

Mirta also said that she really liked the grey blankets because they are soft,

they are thick and they don’t make you scratch.

How did Shelterbox respond?

We worked with our trusted partners Habitat for Humanity and the Paraguayan Red Cross to provide vital aid to 3,000 families in Asuncion. Aid distributions are now complete. People received:

  • Shelter kits with strong tarpaulins and the tools they need to build sturdy shelters.
  • Mosquito nets as a way to protect from deadly diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.
  • Blankets to help communities to keep warm during the coldest months of the year.
  • Solar lights to allow people to move around after dark when there’s no electricity.

You can give vital aid to families around the world who have been affected by a disaster today.

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A young boy on a tricycle

Adolfo and Miguel’s story

When we spoke to Adolfo and his son Miguel, they were using their shelter kit to work on their new shelter. They were living in the temporary settlement called REI Catorce in Asuncion, Paraguay.

Adolfo’s home had been severely damaged by extreme flooding. Little Miguel’s tricycle had also been damaged by the floods, but Adolfo managed to salvage it. When we met Adolfo, he was using the wire from the shelter kit to repair the tricycle and bring joy to little Miguel once again.

The family is planning to move back to their home once the floodwaters recede, and use the tools and aid items they received to fix their home.

He has already used one of the tarpaulins to better weatherproof their temporary home on an outside wall, and he’s planning to reuse it on their original home when they move back.

Aid items provided to families

Mosquito nets

Tough, treated mosquito nets that protect against insect-borne diseases.

Explore Mosquito Nets


luminAID solar light

Solar lights

Solar lights that help people move around after dark and pick up their daily routine.

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Flat lay of the tools and materials in an emergency shelter kit

Shelter kits

A selection of hardwearing tools and materials that help families rebuild their homes.

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What is El Nino?

The heavy rains in Paraguay were linked to El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean.

El Niño is the name used to describe the slight warming of the surface waters of the Pacific. It’s a natural phenomenon that usually occurs every few years.

El Niño can have a devastating effect on weather patterns around the world. The warm waters often trigger a drought in Southeast Asia, mild winters in western Canada and, for Paraguay, it usually triggers above-average rain (source: Met Office).

A smiling man standing at the threshold of his hand built home

Disasters never stop

We have responded to flooding in Paraguay four times so far, supporting families with the essential tools and aid items they needed to rebuild.

Your support helped people like Ramon, whose home was badly damaged after the 2014 floods. Ramon and his wife had to leave everything behind and move to a temporary shelter, without knowing when they would return.

Using his shelter kit, Ramon was able to go back to his home after the floodwaters receded and repair it. Moving back to a permanent home meant that he and his family could be together again, under the warmth of a sturdy shelter. He said:

It was great that we were given the shelter kit. The shelter kit was really what we needed and we are very thankful.

Paraguay children with shovel

Where we work

Our work won’t stop until we see a world where no family is left without shelter after a devastating disaster or conflict.

Have a look at some of the other countries in the world where we are supporting families with emergency shelter and essential aid.