Disasters & Accidents

Bolsonaro announces aid for Recife after heavy rains, almost 90 deaths

Recife, Brazil, May 30 (EFE).- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday flew in a helicopter over the metropolitan Recife area affected by the recent flooding that has left at least 87 people dead, with almost 20 known to be missing, and announced that government aid would be provided to help the victims.

“We’re obviously sad and we’re sending our condolences to the relatives. Our main objective is to comfort the relatives and provide the material items to help the population,” said Bolsonaro at a press conference after overflying the area between the cities of Recife and Jaboatao dos Guararapes.

“We had similar problems in (the city of) Petropolis, in southern Bahia (state), northern Minas Gerais and last year in Acre. Unfortunately, those catastrophes are occurring in our part of the continent,” the president said.

Bolsonaro announced a “no-interest” line of credit for the small businessmen affected by the catastrophe, which got worse on Saturday and has kept the metro region of Pernambuco state on alert, with that state being the most heavily affected by the downpours, along with Alagoas, Sergipe, Paraiba and Piaui.

Regional Development Minister Daniel Ferreira said that at least one billion reais (some $200 million) in “extraordinary credit” had already been allocated, a measure previously approved by the Brazilian Congress to alleviate the suffering resulting from this type of emergency.

Half of those resources, Ferreira said, will be destined for “response actions,” including rescue operations and aid for people who have suffered property damage, and “reestablishment of essential services,” and the other half will be disbursed to help with the “reconstruction” of damaged homes.

Bolsonaro flew over the area in a helicopter but, due to the ongoing rain on Monday and at the recommendation of the pilots, he did not touch down anywhere because of poor “ground conditions,” he said.

EFE wgm/cms/laa/bp

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