Days of constant rain since 15 January 2016 have put several municipalities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on flood and landslide alert.
According to the State Environmental Institute (INEA), the municipalities of Bom Jardim, Teresópolis, Duque de Caxias, Baixada Fluminense, Macaé and Santo Antônio de Pádua are on alert status.
Currently the worst affected area, however, is the municipality of Petrópolis, about 70 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the mayor, Rubens Bomtempo, declared a state of emergency on Tuesday 19 January.
In a statement made yesterday, 21 January, municipality civil defence officials said that they had recorded 80 mm of rain in the last 24 hours. The rain has been falling since 15 January. Petrópolis civil defence say they have recorded 790 occurrences of landslides and flooding since then.
The floods have damaged 95 buildings, which have since been deemed unsafe for residents. Over 500 people have therefore been evacuated and are staying in temporary accommodation, mostly with friends or relatives. The main affected area is the district of Pedro do Rio.
Dams and River Levels Rise
Agência Brasil report that the dam at Itatiaia, in the Paraíba Valley region, reached the maximum safety limit, promoting operators to release water. This has increased levels of the Paraíba do Sul River
This made the floodgates of the structure were opened to release water. Thus, the level of the Paraiba do Sul River has increased considerably. Civil Defense officials in Resende say that levels of the river are at 4.10 meters when normally they would be between 2 to 2.80 meters.
Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná States
Rio de Janeiro is not the only state in Brazil currently facing floods. Heavy rain since 09 January has affected over 150,000 in the state of Paraná.
As many as 29 municipalities in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, have declared a state of emergency after heavy rain and floods that began in early January 2016.
From late December 2015, around 40 municipalities were affected by flooding in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul.