"Now We Eat Twice": Food Changes Family's Living After Paraguayan Rains

Published on 07 September 2012

 Guillermina Lancosa is 65 years old and lives in the flood-stricken district of El Chaco, Paraguay. In this photograph from July, she is with her daughter and grandchildren, as they receive the first rations of WFP food. Copyright: WFP/ Julio Verdun

Nueva Promesa, a community located in the Paraguayan Chaco, suffered the brunt of torrential rains in April and May. These rains destroyed the production of sesame - the economic mainstay of the community - and home gardens of sweet potato, cassava, pumpkin and beans. Today this community is in the process of being restored thanks to food assistance.

ASUNCION – Guillerimina Lancosa, 65, says that she and her family lived in a tent for more than two weeks after torrential downpours and flooding forced them to flee their home in the small town of Nueva Promesa. "I remember a whole week when it did nothing but rain. Everything was wet and our homes were flooded," she said.

Lancosa, whose family was among the first to receive food assistance in this area, says that even after the floods life has been difficult. "When we finally came home, everything was wet. There was mud everywhere," she says. "The kids got sick. We were hungry for our cassava and sweet potato crops, but they were lost in the floods."

A poor village

Nueva Promesa is home to some 197 families who primarily farm sesame, a crop resistant to the area's frequent droughts.

Though somewhat better off than many other communities in this area, the recent bought of flooding whiped out the harvest in Nueva Promesa leaving family's like Guillerimina without a way to support themselves.

To help them, WFP held two rounds of food distributions consisting of beans, flour, oil, salt and sugar. "With the help of WFP food assistance, we're getting better now," says Guillermina.

Now we eat twice

Families like hers have made significant progress since the first round food distributions. Work to rebuild the village has allowed many people to return to their homes.

Guillermina can attest to just how much her life has changed since the flooding and since WFP’s food assistance began in Nueva Promesa.

“We use the beans every day when we make rice for lunch and in the mornings we use the flour and oil to make tortillas,” said Guillermina. “Now we eat twice, before there were days we did not eat anything and that is the most valuable aid we are receiving.”

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about the author

Julio Verdun

Field Monitor

Julio has been a WFP ​​Field Monitor in Bolivia since 2001. In 1994, he began working for the Government of Bolivia in projects where the UN World Food Programme was the main counterpart.