Brazil – Over 10,000 Displaced by Floods in Acre State

Rising levels of the Acre River along the borders of Acre state in northwestern Brazil and Pando Department in northern Bolivia.

Floods along the Acre River in Brasiléia, Acre State, Brazil, late March 2023. Photo: Marcos Vicentti/Secom

Heavy rain and the overflowing Acre River flooded wide areas of the city of Rio Branco, the capital of the state of Acre in Brazil, on 23 March 2023. The city recorded 124.4 mm of rain in 24 hours to 23 March 2023, according to figures from Brazil’s Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (INMET). The Acre River at Rio Branco jumped from around 8 metres to 15.80 metres in 24 hours. The flood level here is 14 metres.

Streets and homes were damaged across 10 neighbourhoods including Placas, Calafate, Belo Jardim II, da Paz and Hélio Melo. Authorities helped to evacuate some residents who took refuge in school buildings in the Conquista neighbourhood.

Flooding has continued in the city since then, with the Acre River rising to 16.96 metres, as of 28 March. As many as 2,213 people have evacuated their homes.

Levels of the Acre River in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil, March 2023. Image: CPRM

The river has also flooded areas in the municipalities of Assis Brasil, Brasileia and Xapuri. In Xapuri levels of the Acre River stood at 15.16 metres (flood level is 15 metres) and in Brasileia the river reached 13.62 metres (flood level is 11.40 metres), as of 28 March.

Across the state, flooding from the Acre River has affected almost 15,000 people, with many having to evacuate their homes. As of 28 March, local authorities reported 433 displaced in Assis Brasil; 8,886 displaced in Brasileia; and 316 displaced in Xapuri.

Flooding along the Acre river is also affecting areas of the Pando Department in Bolivia, in particular the municipality of Cobija, which sits on the banks of the Acre opposite the city of Brasileia, Brazil. Bolivia’s Ministry of Health reported at least 300 families have been affected or evacuated. Five shelters have been opened to accommodate those displaced.