Home LATEST NEWS Desolation and controversy in Brazil after the floods

Desolation and controversy in Brazil after the floods

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The human toll has increased further, rising to 21 dead since the end of November, after the death on Tuesday of a 19-year-old man who drowned in the town of Ilhéus.

The floods affected 136 communes, or one third of Bahia’s municipalities, affecting nearly half a million people and displacing more than 77,000.

Meteorologists now fear that violent rain-laden thunderstorms will reach the densely populated states of southeastern Brazil in the coming days, especially those of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

In Itapetinga, one of the worst affected towns in southern Bahia, Carlos Batista da Silva points to a mark on the wall above his head, which shows how much the water level has risen.

We tried to remove the furniture, but we didn’t have time. We could only save the TV, he confides to theFrance Media Agency.

Brazilians are among the rubble of their homes.

Residents of the city of Ilhéus in Brazil are busy in the rubble of their home. The torrential rains caused extensive flooding.

Photo: Getty Images / Laura Lopes

In Itambé, another town in the south of Bahia, Watson Gomes shows what remains of his father-in-law’s house: a section of wall and a pile of wood, the remains of destroyed furniture.

We try to see what we can save in the rubble. In some houses, the door had to be broken down to help the elderly to get out.

A quote from Watson gomes

When I was able to return to my house, I had water up to the navel. We lost everything, it’s total destruction, says Eliane Silva, another resident of Itambé.

Desolation

In cities where the water level has started to drop, mountains of rubble appear, in a desolate landscape where access to the most affected areas is only by inflatable boat or helicopter.

But other localities remain under the threat of new flooding, and residents had to be evacuated as a preventive measure.

Bahia firefighters are closely monitoring a dozen dikes close to the rupture, and rivers that threaten to overflow. In total, more than 40 roads were damaged.

An aerial view of the damage to buildings in the city of Itambé in Brazil.

Buildings in the city of Itambé suffered extensive damage as a result of flooding in the state of Bahia in Brazil.

Photo: dpa via getty images / RICARDO DUTRA

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday signed an executive order authorizing an extraordinary loan of 200 million reals (about 45 million dollars) for the repair of infrastructure in five states affected by the rain, including 80 million reals (about 18 million dollars) allocated to Bahia.

But Bahia Governor Rui Costa said on Tuesday that those funds were insufficient.

The extent of the destruction is impressive. Looks like there was war, insisted this elected representative of the Workers’ Party (PT, left) of the ex-president of the left Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, favorite against Jair Bolsonaro for the presidential election of October 2022.

On Monday, Rui Costa was already describing the flooding in his state as the worst disaster in Bahia history.

Absence of President Jair Bolsonaro

President Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his absence: several ministers flew over the disaster areas on Tuesday, while he was displayed in a jet-ski on a beach in the state of Santa Catarina (south).

I hope I don’t have to cut my vacation shortthe head of state told supporters, according to the Santa Catarina local news site ND But.

The hashtag #BolsonaroVagabundo (Lazy bolsonaro) was one of the most used in Brazil on Twitter in recent days.

On Wednesday, the head of state contented himself with posting on social networks a video of a Navy helicopter bringing food, with the message: Still there in Bahia.

It’s not just irresponsibility, it’s a lack of compassion. Almost 500,000 people have been affected by the floods in Bahia, and where is the President of the Republic?

A quote from Marcelo Freixo, left-wing deputy

Many celebrities have mobilized to call for donations to come to the aid of the victims, in particular the singers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, from Bahia.

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