Petrópolis Floods

Petrópolis and surrounding areas have flooded, as you may have heard. Over 800 people so far are said to have lost their lives and more than 400 are still missing. BBC has more. If you are in Rio and want to know how to donate or help, this Google Map lays it all out.







More Photos – Folha

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Flooding Bank Accounts in Southern Bahia

“In Guaratinga, a city 390 kilometers from Salvador, near Eunápolis, in the south of the state, there was practically no rain in June, but the city council alleged that the city suffered from flooding from June 15th-17th and called for a state of emergency. According to the Public Ministry, the fraud was committed in order to obtain R$2 million in federal funds, to be applied to public works that were to be done without bidding.

The fraud was only discovered because the promotor Bruno Gontijo Teixeira didn’t trust the information. To check it, he used data from the National Institute of Meteorology, which confirmed that the volume of water during the period was practically zero.

The Military Police filed a civil action against the mayor for administrative misconduct. If condemned, he will have to reimburse the amount received and can have his political rights suspended. The city council is forbidden from using the money.” – Source (in PT)

My Take

I’m not sure the phrasing is right, that the mayor may be punished because it definitely shouldn’t be just a possibility. He should get jail time. What happens when the city really needs federal funds? Will there always be a promotor there to double-check the facts?

No Lessons Learned from Santa Catarina

“More then 600 people are missing after days of heavy rain in north-eastern Brazil triggered deadly floods, officials say. At least 31 people are known to have died so far and tens of thousands have had to flee their homes. Correspondents say the floods have washed away entire villages in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco. The governor of Alagoas, Teotonio Vilela Filho, said bodies were being washed up on beaches and riverbanks.

“We are praying for the missing to be found alive,” he said, before holding talks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. More than 1,000 miles of roads have been washed away by the rains, hindering the delivery of aid to affected areas. Rescue teams are airlifting people out of the worst-affected areas by helicopter. The town of Quebrangulo in Alagoas is reportedly 80% submerged, forcing thousands of residents to flee to higher ground. The army and navy are helping with the rescue efforts. In 2009, flooding killed at least 44 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the same region.” – BBC 

My Take

Am I being way too simple-minded here or if a city has been destroyed by floods, isn’t it possible to devote gov’t aid to that city to put in a drainage system? To say Brazil can’t come up with enough money in public funds is to lie. To say impunity for politicians who commit crimes by diverting public funds is routine, now that comes closer to the truth. Of course, that’s not to say that the US by comparison isn’t full of corrupt politicians, because it surely is. Here (when there isn’t an economic crisis), there’s money to go around, even when the politicians and CEOs steal tons of it. If I lived in Brazil on a more permanent basis and the politicians were stealing money that could make my life and the life of everyone around me better, I would be madder than mad. I’d be furious.

I think a comparison to Hurricane Katrina can be made here. Having lived in New Orleans post-Katrina, I know how fast the nice, touristy places were rebuilt and I know how the surrounding areas still look today. To ignore people because they are poor, when there are ways to help them, is just plain evil. This is the world we live in, where we throw around words like ‘development’, ‘third world’ and ‘social change’ without thinking about what they really mean, where the gov’t is in bed with the media, so much so that they make the people want what they don’t need and ask for change they don’t really understand. Too bad that more often than not, people are scared of their gov’t rather than the other way around. If we never wish to learn, then we’re on the right track.

Santa Catarina floods kill upwards of 122

“Rescue efforts are being stepped up in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, where floods killed 122 people and forced 78,000 from their homes.

The federal government and other states are sending aid, including helicopters to reach stranded residents.

The heavy rainfall of recent days also caused landslides that have destroyed homes and blocked roads in the region.

Eight towns have been cut off by the flood waters while more than 160,000 people are without electricity.

Heavy rains have affected large parts of southern Brazil but Santa Catarina has borne the brunt of the bad weather.

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A Civil Defense official, Robert Guimaraes, told AFP that “nearly 80% of the region is under water,” though levels were dropping.

Eight towns have been completely cut off, while transport throughout the state has been paralysed with roads blocked by mud and water.

Emergency workers have been using helicopters and boats to try to reach those left stranded.

Civil defence officials said that, of the people known to have died, 13 were in the town of Blumenau, while another 15 deaths were reported in Ilhota. The death toll is expected to rise, officials said.

One rescued Ilhota resident told Globo TV that it was a “tsunami of clay, mud and trees”.

Josiane Malmann, who was rescued by helicopter with about 200 people from Ihota, said: “Many people and children died … The hills all fell in an avalanche.”

Joinville floods
(Joinville is one of the towns affected by the flooding)

A state of emergency has been declared in Santa Catarina and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has offered federal help.

“Almost all the deaths were caused by landslides that left people buried in their own homes,” said Santa Catarina Governor Luiz Henrique da Silveira.

In total more than a million people are said to have been affected by the flooding.

The floods have also caused part of a pipeline carrying natural gas from Bolivia to Brazil to be shut, cutting supplies to Santa Catarina and the neighbouring state of Rio Grande do Sul.”

Map of Santa Catarina
Article above taken from BBC.

Here’s a Reuters video of the devastation and audio (in Port.) of an embedded reporter who says the scene in Blumenau is reminiscent of a war film. Click here for photos of the floods sent in to BBC.