“We stay awake until dawn, afraid the mountain will fall on us”: Claudia do Rosario, like other Recipes (northeastern Brazil) residents, fears for his life every day, while landslides caused by torrential rains have already caused much more. More than a hundred deaths.
In the impoverished district of Vila dos Milagres, a few blocks from his cottage leaked tin roofs and pink walls with moisture, as heavy rains over the past weekend had blown everything they had in the way and buried several apartments.
By Wednesday afternoon, local authorities put the death toll at 120. The number of homeless has risen to 7,312.
In the next few hours the National Meteorological Agency predicts that if it rains again, Claudia do Rosario thinks his house could sink into the mud.
Affected neighbors said, “No one came to call the civil defense officers several times. It came only when deaths occurred. Are you waiting for the same thing to happen here? Says this unemployed woman of 43 years.
The same concern on the part of Maria Lucia da Silva. “Every time it rains, the mountain gives way a little bit … we are in complete fear here. We call the authorities but so far they have not given us any solution and they say the area of priority neighborhood is the most affected, ”said the 37-year-old shopkeeper.
There, as noted by the AFP videographer at the site of the landslide, firefighters, maintenance personnel and other officers were active Wednesday in searching for the missing.
– Exposed Areas –
The town hall of Recife, the capital of the state of Bernambuco, said it had opened telephone and WhatsApp numbers for residents to report incidents. According to him, on Wednesday more than 200 government employees worked in the district on “cleaning, social assistance, civil defense and sanitation”.
Shelter is set up at Vila Dose Milagros to provide medical care, clothing and basic necessities to the victims.
Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, some parts of the regional capital received the equivalent of 70% of the rainfall normally expected throughout May.
Brazilian President Jair Bolzano flew into flooded areas on Monday and the government released a loan of 1 billion riyals (approximately 198 million euros) to help those affected.
In the wake of a similar tragedy that killed 233 people in Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro (south-east) in February, the far-right head of state was criticized for calling this kind of catastrophe “things that happen.”
Other deadly floods occurred late last year in the province of Bahia (northeast), then in the southeast in January, in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.
Experts interpret these episodes as a combination of heavy rainfall, aggravated by climate change and the installation of entire environments made by unsafe houses in steep areas at risk.
The Brazilian National Natural Disaster Monitoring and Warning Center (Cemaden) estimates that 9.5 million people in Brazil live in landslide-prone areas, many of whom live in favelas – slums – without basic sanitation.