May 20, 2024

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More than 20,000 Venezuelan refugees were affected by floods in Brazil

More than 20,000 Venezuelan refugees were affected by floods in Brazil

Geneva.- More than 21,000 Venezuelan refugees affected Floods In the south BrazilWhich has so far left at least 107 dead, 134 missing, and 806 wounded, as well as 600,000 people forced to leave their homes, according to Civil Defense.

The official spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) He warned in a press conference on Tuesday that “a lot Venezuelans And Haitians They live in affected areas that can only be reached by boat.

According to the organization’s data, it is a Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul It welcomes more than 21,000 Venezuelans who come from the state of Roraima, on Brazil’s northern border with Venezuela.

More than 85% of the territory of Rio Grande do Sul was affected by floods, about 68,000 people had to live in adequate shelters, and more than 327,000 people had to leave their homes.

President Luiz Ignacio “Lula” da Silva He admitted on Monday that the country was not prepared for this tragedy.

“It is a catastrophe for the extent of which we were not prepared,” the president said during his meeting with Finance Minister Fernando Haddad and State Governor Eduardo Leite.

Despite the decrease in rainfall, Leite urged evacuees not to return to their homes, especially in the capital, Porto Alegre, and its suburbs, where the level of the Guayba River may reach a new record high.

He warned that “it is not yet time to return to homes in danger areas.”

The level of this river, on the banks of which several destroyed cities lie, exceeded five meters for the first time since Thursday and continues to rise due to rain at the end of the week. According to Civil Defense, it is possible that it will exceed the historic peak of 5.35 meters reached on May 5.

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Help to start over

In the face of Guayba’s rise, the Porto Alegre mayor’s office erected a massive sandbag barricade on a downtown street to try to prevent flooding from reaching the water pumping station, which could exacerbate an already precarious service supply to about three dozen Porto Alegre neighborhoods. City.

Residents of the Harmonia neighborhood in Canoas, on the outskirts of Porto Alegre, removed their belongings from their homes as the waters rose.

“The water never went down,” said construction worker Alcidere Alves, 58. “It was flooded in October and now too. This time I lost everything.”

More than 77,000 people are living in shelters set up in schools, sports clubs and other institutions after the disaster, which experts and the Brazilian government linked to climate change and the El Niño phenomenon.

The situation for evacuees will be complicated with the arrival of a cold front, according to meteorological agency MetSul on Monday.

The authorities are working to distribute supplies and donations from all over the country and abroad.

Light said the most affected families will receive 2,000 Brazilian reais (about $400) so they can start “rebuilding their lives.”

Life changing

Lula announced a proposal, which must be approved by Congress, to suspend Rio Grande do Sul’s debt payments to the Brazilian state for 36 months, which has become, according to the governor, an “unbearable tourniquet” in the face of the tragedy.

Life in Rio Grande do Sul has completely changed, with nearly 360,000 students without classes and health care concentrated on field hospitals.

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Important highways and roads remain completely or partially closed, while Porto Alegre’s international airport remains under water.

The unprecedented rains and floods directly affected at least 80 indigenous communities, some of them very seriously, according to the Indigenous Missionary Council of Brazil.

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fountain: With information from Agence France-Presse