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Drought in Northeast Brazil Hits 5 Year Mark

11/07/2016 - 11h24

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JOÃO PEDRO PITOMBO
SPECIAL ENVOY TO SANTA BÁRBARA (BA)

With inflammation in the knees, farmer Maria Nascimento da Silva, 72, cannot carry cans and gallons of water on her head like she used to.

After watching her children move to cities like Salvador and Candeias, in the metropolitan region of Bahia, today she lives with her nine year old granddaughter in Santa Bárbara's rural zone, a point of entry into the Bahia backcountry.

She was one one of the residents who, on a humid Friday, participated in a procession to the town hall to make the same request: that the army's water tank, recently arrived, stop by her home and supply water to the well.

One in every two cities in the Northeast is in a state of emergency due to the drought, which has reached its fifth year in the region.

Data from Northeast Brazil's Drought Monitor, gathered by the Cearense Foundation for Meteorology and Water Management, indicates that, in September, the drought reached the most severe stage seen in the last twelve months.

The largest reservoir in the Northeast, Sobradinho -located in the São Francisco river- is at 7.1% of its capacity and could reach dead volume by the end of the year.

In Ceará, Castanhão, the reservoir that serves Fortaleza, reached 5% of its capacity. Small and medium sized dams also dried up. The result: 280 cities in six states are face rationing or a collapse in supply.

The Ministry of National Integration currently oversees 824 municipalities in drought zones with tanks, at a cost of approximately R$ 86.8 million (US$ 27 million) per month.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

Read the article in the original language

Beto Macario/UOL
The largest reservoir in the Northeast, Sobradinho, is at 7.1% of its capacity and could reach dead volume by the end of the year
The largest reservoir in the Northeast, Sobradinho, is at 7.1% of its capacity and could reach dead volume by the end of the year

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