Brazil “in a state of war”

Brazil “in a state of war”
Brazil “in a state of war”

Faced with the scale of the disaster in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (South), the authorities have called for general mobilization. For the second time in four days, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to lend a hand to the local teams on Sunday May 5. Flanked by several ministers, Lula was also accompanied by the presidents of both houses of Congress and the vice-president of the Supreme Court. A very symbolic moment of national unity in the midst of the crisis in Brasilia between the executive, legislative and judicial powers. “We are in a state of war. In this case, there are no restrictions to remove the obstacles so that nothing is missing to allow the reconstruction of Rio Grande do Sul.”assures Rodrigo Pacheco, president of the Senate.

A state of public calamity has officially been declared. It should make it possible to release funds to help the affected population. Governor Eduardo Leite called for “a sort of Marshall plan” to rebuild destroyed infrastructure. Lula promised to support it. Faced with the emergency, the response “will be firm and effective, as it was during the pandemic”adds the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira.

The equivalent of three months of rain

In ten days, the region received 420 millimeters of water, the equivalent of three months of rain in normal times. A real deluge which caused a dam to collapse, which threatens around ten others, and which caused unprecedented floods in this neighboring state of Argentina, the size of half of France.

The capital Porto Alegre was in turn affected this weekend. And caused a new state of alert. The army was requisitioned to come to the aid of the population. Reinforcements also arrived from Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais (southeastern Brazil). Helicopters managed to evacuate residents in sometimes heroic circumstances.

The mayor of the “gaucha” capital, Sebastião Melo, is also calling on all those who can to participate in relief operations. “We call on all owners of jet skis or boats, all mechanics, to join the rescue teams, he told CBN radio on Monday. It’s a kind of solidarity governance, everyone contributes as they can. » The mayor also called on residents to ration water. Electricity was cut off in some areas. The airport and bus station remain closed. “This is the biggest disaster we have ever experienced in Brazil”insists the mayor.

“Late for a war”

However, this is not the first time that the region has been affected by extreme climatic phenomena. Last September, an “extra-tropical” cyclone killed 53 people. The frequency of these devastating events is the consequence of the El Niño phenomenon and climate change, say some experts.

Lula thus wants to go further in prevention. “We have to stop being late for a war. We must be able to predict what will happen to prevent this type of misfortune”, he declared alongside Marina Silva, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. It is on his shoulders that a plan for adaptation to the “new normal” climate rests more than ever. The task does not look easy.

In the immediate future, the entire Brazilian population could feel the impact of these floods in this agricultural state. The prices of rice and meat, of which Rio Grande del Sul is a major producer, could indeed increase significantly.

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