The rains in southern Brazil could be worse

The rains in southern Brazil could be worse, according to authorities’ forecasts for the coming weeks.

The forecast calls for more rains in the already flooded Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, where many of the victims are poor people with few options to go elsewhere.

In fact, rains in southern Brazil could be worse over the weekend, with estimates that more than 15 centimeters (almost 6 inches) of rain could fall, the National Meteorological Institute said in a report Friday afternoon.

In addition, it said, there is a high probability of intensifying winds and rising water levels in and around the Patos Lagoon near the state capital, Porto Alegre.

To date, at least 144 people have died as a result of the floods since they began last week, while some 141 citizens are missing, authorities said on Friday.

With the rains in southern Brazil expected to get worse, a state of emergency has been declared.

The number of people displaced from their homes due to torrential downpours has surpassed 400,000, of whom 70,000 are sheltering in gymnasiums, schools and other temporary locations.

On the other hand, some residents in the state of Rio Grande do Sul have found shelter in second homes, such as Alexandra Zanela, co-owner of a content agency in Porto Alegre.

Thousands of citizens affected: Rains in southern Brazil could get worse

In Brazil, the poorest people often live in houses built with less resistant materials such as wood, and in areas that are unregulated and more vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather conditions, such as low-lying areas or steep slopes.

The magnitude of the devastation could be compared to that caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2005, said Sergio Vale, chief economist at MB Associates, in a note on Friday.


Rio Grande do Sul has the sixth highest GDP per capita of the 26 Brazilian states and the federal district, according to the national statistics institute.

Many of the region’s inhabitants are descended from Italian and German immigrants.

The outlook is not encouraging, as residents know that the rains in southern Brazil could be worse.

As if that were not enough, the meteorological agency forecasts the arrival of a cold, dry air mass that will reduce the possibility of rain from Monday onwards, and will also mean a drastic drop in temperatures to around zero degrees Celsius on Wednesday.

This makes hypothermia a concern for those who get wet and have no electricity.

Celebrities such as supermodel Gisele Bündchen and pop star Anitta have shared links and information about where and how to donate to help those affected by the floods. Churches, businesses, schools and ordinary citizens across the country have mobilized to help.

The United Nations refugee agency is distributing blankets and mattresses, plus additional items such as emergency shelters, cooking utensils, solar lamps and hygiene kits, from its stockpiles in northern Brazil and elsewhere in the region.

The federal government announced on Thursday a R$50.9 billion (US$10 billion) package for employees, beneficiaries of social programs, the state and municipalities, companies and rural producers in Rio Grande do Sul.

On the same day, the Brazilian air force airdropped more than two tons of water and food over isolated areas due to road closures.

The Brazilian Navy has dispatched three ships, including the aircraft carrier Atlantic, considered the largest warship in Latin America, which is expected to arrive off the coast of the state on Saturday.

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