Territorial Extension and Affected People Make the Tragedy in Rio Grande do Sul Unprecedented in Brazil

Experts point out the high number of municipalities and inhabitants affected; reconstruction cost is a challenge


The territorial extension of the floods in Rio Grande do Sul and the number of people affected make the tragedy in Rio Grande do Sul an unprecedented phenomenon in Brazil, according to experts from different areas interviewed by Folha.

The city of Canoas, in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre. - Amanda Perobelli/Reuters

According to the State Civil Defense, 450 out of 497 municipalities were affected by the floods until Monday night (13th), and more than 2.1 million people are suffering the consequences. Of these, 538,000 are displaced and almost 80,000 are in shelters. The catastrophe left 147 dead and 127 missing, according to the latest count.

José Marengo, general coordinator of Research and Modeling at Cemaden (National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters), highlights that two-thirds of the state are affected by the floods, which also affect agricultural production — Rio Grande do Sul has the largest rice cultivation in Brazil.

The municipality of Eldorado do Sul, 12 kilometers from Porto Alegre, was flooded and had 32,000 people affected —equivalent to 80% of the population. In Canoas, 154,000 people suffer from the tragedy (44% of the total), while in São Leopoldo, 84,000 (39%).

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