Brazil – Homes Destroyed, Hundreds Displaced by Floods in Pernambuco, Alagoas and Paraíba

Heavy rain in north-eastern Brazil over the last few days has caused flooding and landslides in the states of Pernambuco, Alagoas and Paraíba. At least one person has died, several injured and hundreds displaced.

Floods in Penedo, Alagoas, Brazil, May 2022 . Photo: Municipality of Penedo


Stormy weather caused flooding and wind damage in parts of Pernambuco state, Brazil on 23 May 2022. Flooding was reported in Olinda and Recife, where the Tejipió river broke its banks. One person was injured as a result of strong winds.

Heavy rain has continued since then in particular in Greater Recife areas. The coastal town of Olinda recorded 199 mm of rain in 24 hours to 25 May, and the city of Recife recorded 196 mm.

As of 25 May Civil Defence reported Pernambuco damage in 8 municipalities, 1 fatality, 1 injured and 447 displaced, mostly in the Greater Recife area.


Some southern areas of Alagoas state saw more than 250 mm of rain in 24 hours on 24 May, which is the amount normally seen for the whole of an average May.

In response to the continued heavy rain, Paulo Dantas, governor of Alagoas, said “At this point, I ask that everyone stay safe. If you live in risk areas, seek shelter as soon as possible.” The State Department of Education (Semed) suspended classes in public schools for 48 hours.

Among the worst affected municipalities is Penedo, where authorities declared a state of emergency after recording the highest rainfall totals since 1935, when monitoring began. The municipality said in a period from late 24 May to 25 May the area saw 260 mm of rain, higher than the previous record of 200 mm set in 1945.

Several houses collapsed due to flash flooding and landslides. Seven people were rescued from under the rubble, with one person suffering injuries. Local authorities reported widespread flooding in the municipality has left 300 people displaced, with 129 of them staying in relief shelters.

In the north of the state, the municipality of Jacuípe on the border with Pernambuco, has seen flooding which is expected to worsen as levels of the Jacuípe River rise. As of 25 May the river stood at 5.11 metres, below flood stage of 5.3 metres but rising, according to SEMARH, the state’s Department for Environment and Water Resources.

The Paraíba River is also rising, with the city of Viçosa on alert. Likewise the Mundaú river in the municipality of Rio Largo is also approaching flood stage (8.61m) standing at 8.33 as of 25 May 2022 and rising, according to SEMARH.

Floods in Penedo, Brazil, May 2022 . Photo: Municipality of Penedo


In the state of Paraíba, the dam of the Tanques Reservoir broke in Pocinhos on 25 May 2022 after continued heavy rain. Local authorities report 6 houses severely damaged or destroyed and 4 people injured.

Damage after a dam broke in Pocinhos, Paraíba, Brazil May 2022. Photo: Municipality of Pocinhos
Damage after a dam broke in Pocinhos, Brazil May 2022. Photo: Municipality of Pocinhos