Brazil hit by extreme weather conditions causing deaths, evacuations

São Paulo, Feb 5 (EFE).- In recent months, Brazil has been hit by the worst drought in over ninety years to severe rainstorms that have caused nearly 100 deaths and 150,000 evacuations.

Due to a lack of waterfall between June and September last year, water reservoirs have remained dry, giving way to overflowing rivers, deadly landslides and floods from the end of last year to the beginning of this year.

The states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and São Paulo, which together account for 40% of Brazil’s entire population, have been the most affected from the heavy rainfalls that have been battering part of the Brazilian territory since October.

The lack of urban infrastructure and of climate prevention policies are largely to blame for the destruction the storms have caused, according to geographer and spokesman for the Greenpeace Climate and Justice campaign, Rodrigo Jesus Santos.

“There is an increase in extreme events related to heavy rains with direct consequences on the most vulnerable population living in the periphery of large cities or in rural communities,” Santos tells Efe.

Between São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Bahia, at least 86 people have died in recent months, while some 150,000 people have been forced to leave their homes due to heavy rainfall, according to official data.

Meanwhile, in the town of Franco da Rocha near São Paulo, 18 people were killed in a landslide that buried several houses on steep terrain.

These out of the normal rainfalls came shortly after Brazil was hit by one of the worst droughts in decades, a phenomenon increasingly frequent and mainly linked to deforestation in the Amazon, which has skyrocketed since the arrival to power of President Jair Bolsonaro.

The drought severely affected agricultural regions and had significant economic consequences, forcing the government to increase the price of electricity to encourage people to save and avoid energy rationing.

The intensity of extreme weather events will increase and their impacts are being enhanced by human action, Santos said.

“There is negligence on the part of public managers in the face of the climate crisis (…) We are living in a climate emergency; it is not something of the future, it is our present because lives are being lost and ecosystems are breaking down,” he warned. EFE


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