A MapAction team is responding to widespread and repeated flooding in western Paraguay attached to a United Nations’ assistance group. The worst floods for more than a decade began in April. They have left thousands of families in scattered rural communities in urgent need of emergency food and other help after the floods devastated crops and livestock. A complication of the emergency is that the affected communities are spread across two rural departments with a combined area somewhat larger than England and Wales. Many villages have remained cut off by road for weeks, requiring aid to be flown in by helicopter. On 29 June MapAction received a request from the UN to support a group travelling to Paraguay to assist the government and international agencies in coordinating assistance.
The non-governmental organisation (NGO) MapAction is a volunteer group of geographical information systems (GIS) professionals. It has the capacity to deploy its humanitarian mapping and information management team anywhere in the world, often within a few hours of an alert. MapAction delivers information in mapped form, from information gathered at the disaster scene. Paper maps, updated daily, are issued to aid agencies at the scene. The information is also distributed electronically, for upload to websites and as data feeds for other GIS users.