Flooding in South America has forced the closure of some parts of Iguazu National Park.

The raging floods have poured water and debris across many of the walkways, and the sightseeing boats have also been forced to suspend their services.

The problems have been exacerbated by the flooding further upstream. The Parana River starts deep within the Brazilian countryside, then tracks along the border with Paraguay, later forming the border between Argentina and Paraguay, before meandering all the way to Buenos Aires.

On the border between Paraguay and Brazil, the river has been damed to create the world’s largest operating hydroelectric dam, Itaipú. As the flooding grew worse in Brazil and Paraguay, the authorities were forced to open the flood gates of the dam.

This alleviated the flooding upstream, which had already forced 500 families to be evacuated from their homes, but it intensified the problems further south.

It is estimated that by the time the waters of the Parana River return to normal, another 10,000 people will have been forced to evacuate their homes.

Iguazu National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region and is home to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. In 2010 the number of visitors raised dramatically, and it’s estimated that 1.2 million people visited the natural spectacle.

Iguazu Falls dwarf the more famous waterfalls of Niagara on the US-Canada border. They are a third taller and twice as wide. It is said that when US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt first saw them she exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!”

Source: Al Jazeera