The flood situation in southern Brazil continues and is now affecting over 200,000 people across the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.
Rio Grande do Sul
The Civil Defense of Rio Grande do Sul reported that 132 towns and cities have been affected by flooding and rainstorms since the beginning of the month. About 177,000 people have been affected in total across the state, where over 7,500 families are currently displaced or homeless.
One of the worst hit areas in the state is Porto Alegre, where the mayor declared a state of emergency on Sunday 18 October, following the heavy rain and flooding on Wednesday 14 October.
The rain forced the Guaíba River to break its banks, causing its second worst-ever overflow, according to Agência Brasil. Some of the worst hit parts of the city are the poorer areas, such as bairro Guarujá, where the mayor, José Fortunati, visited last week.
In Santa Catarina, nearly 30,000 people are affected by the floods across 97 towns or cities since the beginning of October, according to the local Civil Defense report. 1,790 people were displaced and 2,933 are homeless. Seventeen municipalities have declared state of emergency, which is the condition imposed to receive federal aid.
Visit of President Dilma Rousseff
On 24 October President Dilma Rousseff flew over the affected areas in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina to observe the extent of the damage.
The president announced that officials from the federal government will visit Rio Grande do Sul to help municipalities that need to submit documents to receive federal funds.
“In addition to the 66 municipalities we had already declared a state of emergency, we will come with a team formed by state government officials and mayors to take the necessary measures so that they [municipalities] meet the requirements to be declared state of emergency.” stated Rousseff.
Uruguay – Floods in Artigas, Paysandu and Salto Rivera
Neighbouring parts of Uruguay have also been affected by the heavy rain, causing the Uruguay and Yaguarón rivers to overflow and forcing hundreds of people from their homes.
The latest update from SINAE, the disaster management agency in Uruguay, reports that the situation is now stabilizing and that the only department where the Uruguay River is still above the safety level is Paysandu. However, for the time being, 656 people remain displaced in Artigas, Paysandu and Salto Rivera.