Floods in Brazil | Aid is flowing before more rain falls

Floods in Brazil |  Aid is flowing before more rain falls

(Porto Alegre) Launching emergency funds, naval aircraft carriers, sending food on Neymar's plane: initiatives multiplied on Tuesday to help residents of southern Brazil, who fear the return of rains after historic floods.


The toll from the worst climate disaster in the history of Rio Grande do Sul, an important agricultural state, continues to mount: 95 dead, 131 missing and 372 injured, according to the latest report from the Civil Defense.

The governor of this state, Eduardo Leite, announced in a press conference that “the numbers continue to rise, but unfortunately they remain largely inaccurate because we are still in a state of emergency.”

He warned of the risk of “more heavy rain starting Friday.” […] Which could cause more flooding in already severely affected areas.

In Porto Alegre, the regional capital, and in more than 400 local areas, more than 159,000 people have already been forced to leave their homes due to the stunning rise in water levels caused by bad weather throughout the past week.

On Tuesday, aid shipments and donations from across the country arrived in the capital, where “the most urgent need is water,” Civil Defense's Sabrina Ribas said.

“I'm exhausted. God forbid I run out of water,” Elisabeth, 67, told AFP as she filled buckets from one of the few taps available in the town of Alvorada, near Porto Alegre.

The Capital Municipality stated that only two of the six water treatment plants are operating, and hospitals and residence centers are being supplied with tanks, after a decree was issued rationing water.

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The municipality admitted that “there are no expectations for the system to return to normal.”

” war ”

In the town of Canoas, a suburb of Porto Alegre, boats sail back and forth to rescue residents who decided to stay in their homes until the last minute or were unable to approach them before.

“We were in a room on the top floor, and the water rose to the sixth step of the stairs. We managed to get out in time, but now we hope the water will recede,” Brenda Silveira (24 years old) told AFP.

As part of a “war-like” operation, the Navy is scheduled to send the aircraft carrier “Atlántico”, the largest military ship in Latin America, with two mobile sewage treatment plants to the region on Wednesday.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced the opening of “emergency funds” by the federal government for “first aid.” For his part, Governor Leyte referred to the state of Rio Grande do Sul's release of “200 million reais (54 million Canadian dollars) of emergency funds.”

About 15,000 soldiers, firefighters, police officers and volunteers were mobilized to rescue the victims.

Countries such as Uruguay and Argentina, neighboring Rio Grande do Sul, have provided or are supplying relief equipment and specialized personnel.

Many celebrities also participated. Football star Neymar chartered a plane full of food. “I pray that everything returns to normal,” he wrote in an Instagram message, illustrated with photos showing the plane filled with boxes of food and water bottles.

Worrying weather

As the scenes of devastation continued, the weather forecast became alarming.

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The National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) expects bad weather to pose a “major risk” in the far south of the state until Wednesday, with more than 100 mm of rain falling in this area so far.

Meteorologist Katia Valiente warned that rain is also expected in the center and north of the state, which could worsen by the end of the week.

Aggravating circumstance: announcing a drop in temperature.

The level of the Guayba River, which crosses Porto Alegre and its area, reached 5.28 meters on Tuesday, a historic level.

In addition to rescue operations, ensuring security poses an additional challenge, while reports of burglaries inside vacated homes add to the tension.

Local authorities announced an increase in police force and called for the mobilization of other security forces. They also promised to take strict action against the spread of “fake news” about the tragedy, which further complicates the work of rescuers.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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