Two weeks of heavy rains have sent brown flood waters spilling into fields and homes here - a scene being played out in river towns up and down Argentina's northeast delta.

Business has slowed to a crawl in Villa Paranacito but not for Juan Marcos Rodriguez and his boat: Normally the local hospital's chief of personnel, he has kept many other town residents afloat even as their wooden homes and businesses have flooded under one of the worst deluges in years.So far, the people of Villa Paranacito are the lucky ones - elsewhere in Argentina's flooded northeast, 18 people have died, and tens of thousands have fled their inundated homes.

"The people living here know we're at risk," Rodriguez said of the town, 120 miles north of Buenos Aires, along the banks of the La Tita River.

Winding between farmlands swamped in standing water, the clay road leading into Villa Paranacito is lined with horses, sheep and pigs displaced by the rising waters. Bulldozers worked Tuesday to build earthen dams to protect the town's only link to a main highway.

The steady rise of Argentina's two biggest rivers - the Parana and Uruguay - have swelled smaller rivers such as La Tita.

Many of the town's 3,000 residents have been forced to do their traveling by canoe. And waterlogged businesses have struggled to stay open.

"The people have little money, so we aren't selling much," storeowner Maria Izetta de Castel said, standing next to withering apples and pears.

She worried the store would meet the same fate as the pharmacy and clothing shop down the river where employees in ankle-high waters wait for customers - who don't come.

Three feet of water on the first floor of her house has forced her family to move up to the second level. "We aren't leaving," she said emphatically.

Classes are still being held at the Gregoria San Martin school, where men worked to build a wooden dock and walkway to the school. Students are arriving wet and often late, one teenager said.

Three previous floods had helped residents of Villa Paranacito prepare for this one.

About 85,000 people are living in makeshift community centers, army or government buildings.