Floods have killed nine people and driven tens of thousands of people from their homes while swelling rivers to record levels in southern Brazil and neighboring Paraguay and Argentina, authorities said Tuesday.
The civil defense department in Brazil's Parana state said that 132 cities have been flooded, including parts of the state capital of Curitiba that will host four World Cup games. In total 3,000 people have been forced to evacuate due to torrential rains upstream.
Curitiba City Hall spokesman Alvaro Borba said the Arena da Baixada stadium, the training center, hotels and tourist sites are nowhere near the Borigui river that overflowed its banks. He said the Spanish national team has been training normally and forecasters said rains are not expected when the stadium hosts its first Cup encounter on June 16, when Iran meets Nigeria.
Other teams playing in the city are Iran, Honduras, Ecuador, Australia, Algeria and Russia.
Meanwhile in Paraguay flooding has forced the evacuation of about 150,000 people in the capital city Asuncion, authorities reported. After days of heavy rains helped swell the Paraguay and Parana rivers, floodwaters sent an estimated 30,000 families to local shelters so far, the government said.
Housed in a military facility, they were visited Tuesday by President Horacio Cartes, who pledged ongoing help.
Paraguay's National Emergency Office director Joaquin Roa said Cartes had made available funds for evacuation assistance across the mostly rural country.
The Iguazu and Parana rivers that Brazil shares with Paraguay and Argentina rose to historic levels, forcing authorities to open two major hydroelectric dams above the world-renowned Iguazu Falls, where the water flow increased nearly 30-fold, from 1,500 cubic meters per second to 43,000 meters per second, topping the previous record of 36,000 set in 1992.
The park's viewing areas were closed to tourists and employees removed walkways that would otherwise be destroyed. On the Brazil side, the rising water swallowed the cement viewing platform where thousands of tourists usually take selfies below the Devil's Gorge.