Brazil To See Severe Flooding For Weeks To Come: Experts Warn

by | May 16, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Brazil To See Severe Flooding For Weeks To Come: Experts Warn

Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, is grappling with severe flooding. Now, experts expect Brazil to see severe flooding for weeks to come. The capital, Porto Alegre, is one of the hardest-hit areas. It has affected around half a million residents who have been forced to leave their homes due to the deluge.

This month, parts of the state have recorded over 630 mm (25 inches) of rain. It has surpassed the annual average rainfall of London. Lake Guaiba, which has overflowed and flooded Porto Alegre, reached 5.22 meters (17.13 feet) this week. This level is significantly above the 3.0 meters flood threshold. It’s close to the all-time high of 5.33 meters recorded last week.

Brazil to see severe floodings for weeks

The floods have devastated numerous towns inland from Porto Alegre. The death toll in the state stands at 149, with 108 people still missing. The disaster has left 250,000 addresses without power and deprived over 136,000 people of access to clean water.

Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) experts suggest that water levels may stabilize but could rise again if more rain falls. Historical data indicate it could take a month for the water to recede below flood levels.

Professor Rodrigo Paiva from the UFRGS Institute of Hydraulic Research (IPH) estimates it could take until mid-June for Lake Guaiba to return to safe levels. This depends on future weather conditions. However, hydrologist Fernando Fan warns that continued rain could delay this timeline.

On Wednesday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced federal assistance of 5,100 reais ($992) to approximately 240,000 families affected by the floods. This relief package is estimated to cost 1.2 billion reais.

It aims to help those who have lost their homes or belongings. Additionally, Lula’s administration plans to expedite certain social benefits for affected citizens. It’s also to purchase homes from the private sector to house displaced families.

In São Leopoldo, another heavily affected city, Lula emphasized the need for immediate relief measures. The President’s announcements followed a forecast from the UFRGS IPH. It predicted a 35-day timeline for water levels to normalize based on the historic flood of 1941.

In the small fishing hamlet of Paquetá, 25 km north of Porto Alegre, residents are closely monitoring water levels. Renewed rainfall has led to another rise in Lake Guaiba’s level. This further prompted authorities to warn against returning to risk areas prematurely.

Cristiano Pastoriza, a 58-year-old fisherman, expressed the community’s frustration. “We were hopeful as the water was receding, but now it has started to rise again. It will take at least two months to return to normal,” he said.

Moacir Lopes, another fisherman, noted the prolonged impact on their livelihood. “The fish won’t come back until the river normalizes. This will take two or three months.” He feels that the water must be cleaned before the fish return. The fishermen have been using their boats to rescue residents in severely flooded neighboring villages, highlighting the community’s resilience.

The situation remains dire, with many families waiting for the waters to recede and normalcy to return. Now, as experts expect Brazil to see severe flooding for weeks to come, it’s a concerning situation. The floods have not only affected infrastructure and homes but also disrupted the lives and livelihoods of countless residents in Rio Grande do Sul.

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  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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