Spread the love

Floods in Brazil: return of rains in the South, where the crisis continues

The south of Brazil, still largely under water, is preparing to be flooded. face further intense rain this weekend, prolonging an already difficult situation. criticism marked by the death of at least 126 people and an explosion in the number of displaced people.

The torrential rains that fell last week in the state of Rio Grande do Sul caused rivers to overflow, affecting nearly two million people and leaving 756 injured, according to the latest report released Friday evening by Civil Defense.

With 141 people still missing, authorities fear the toll will continue to rise as the region expects “heavy” rainfall throughout the weekend.

Over the past 24 hours, the number of people forced to evacuate their homes since last week has almost doubled, reaching 411,000 people, according to Civil Defense. Of this total, more than 71,000 victims were taken care of in shelters, where the authorities worked to reassure after reports of theft and violence.

De New rains hit the state on Friday, particularly its capital Porto Alegre, and the National Institute of Meteorology announced “heavy and persistent” precipitation throughout the weekend and into the start of the week.

Meteorologist Catia Valente warned of the risk of new landslides on the north coast in particular: “This is what concerns us the most at the moment”, she said.

In the meantime, authorities are mobilizing thousands of troops to distribute tons of food aid, as well as mattresses and other supplies from across the country.

< p>In the regional capital with 1.4 million inhabitants, bottled water remained rare, despite the incessant ballet, night and day, of tanker trucks supplying shelters, hospitals, buildings and even hotels.

Despite the new rains, residents are trying to find a semblance of normality.

Some stores are reopening, while the water has begun to slowly recede from some neighborhoods where traffic is heavy due to the many streets still flooded across the city.

Floods in Brazil: return of rains in the South, where the crisis continues

Brazilian Air Force soldiers prepare donations to send to flood victims in Rio Grande do Sul state at Brasilia Air Base, Brazil, May 10, 2024 © AFP – EVARISTO SA

The violence of these historic floods damaged or destroyed more than 85,000 homes.

The state governor, Eduardo Leite, estimated that “entire areas” of certain localities devastated by water will have to be “relocated”, which will cost “several millions”. On Thursday, he estimated the cost of reconstruction at 19 billion reais (3.4 billion euros).

The federal government promised Thursday to release some nine billion euros for the reconstruction of the disaster-stricken region.

– “More extreme” climate –

Fields and machines under water, livestock farms and inaccessible warehouses, the natural disaster also hit hard the agricultural sector, the engine of the local and national economy.

In the regions of rice fields surrounding Porto Alegre, AFP journalists noted that the water level made the crops inaccessible.

Floods in Brazil: return of rains in the South, where the crisis continues

General view of flooded rice fields in Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 9, 2024 © AFP – Nelson ALMEIDA

Rice is one of the main crops of this state, the southernmost of the country, as well as an essential food on the plate of Brazilians.

Rice fields “with up to two meters of water were lost”, testifies Daniel Dalbosco, who owns 300 hectares of land in Eldorado do Sul, west of Porto Alegre. His neighbors “have lost between 40 and 50 hectares. It's very, very complicated”, sighs the farmer.

Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the Organization World Meteorological Agency (WMO), a UN agency, said Friday that the floods were the result of global warming coupled with the natural weather phenomenon El Niño.

Floods in Brazil: return of rains in the South, where the crisis continues

Floods in southern Brazil © AFP – Guillermo RIVAS PACHECO, Paz PIZARRO

“Even if El Niño fades, which it certainly will, the long-term effects of climate change will be felt. Every fraction of a degree increase in temperature means that our climate will become more extreme,” she said during a press conference in Geneva.

“Our climate is on steroids” and extreme floods and intense heat waves will continue to “multiply”, she warned.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116