the streets of Porto Alegre submerged under the Guaiba River

the streets of Porto Alegre submerged under the Guaiba River
the streets of Porto Alegre submerged under the Guaiba River

It’s here “worst climate tragedy this state has ever known,” asserts Folha de São Paulo. The toll from the floods that have been hitting Rio Grande Do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil, for a week now stands at 78 dead and 105 missing.

The cause is the bad weather that has hit the region in recent days. “During the last four days of April, the state received about 70 percent of the precipitation that falls on average during the entire month.”note The New York Times.

In Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the Guaiba River burst its banks after reaching 5.3 meters high, shattering the record of 4.76 meters recorded during the historic flood of 1941. Aerial images broadcast on the YouTube channel of Power 360 (see above) demonstrate the seriousness of the damage. The streets of Porto Alegre are drowned in brown water that stretches as far as the eye can see. “All over the city, residents climbed onto rooftops to wait for help, while others moved by canoe or small boat, through streets transformed into rivers,” details it Guardian which even specifies that certain rescue operations are now carried out in “jet ski”.

Water shortage

For survivors, the situation still remains very precarious. This Sunday, May 7, Sebastião Melo, the mayor of Porto Alegre, revealed that 70% of the city’s residents are facing water shortages. According to the Brazilian daily Gaucha ZH, four of the city’s six sewage treatment plants were damaged. The mayor therefore asked residents to drastically reduce their consumption until the problem was resolved.

According to Folha de São Paulotankers have been requisitioned to supply certain areas of the city, but this solution could be cut short due to a lack of fuel. “Trucks need gasoline to travel, and there is a shortage of gasoline. We are waiting for supplies but the airport is closed for the moment,” deplores Sebastião Melo, in comments reported by the Brazilian media. Present on site this Sunday, President Lula promised rapid aid from the State, as well as the creation of a “climate accident prevention plan”.

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