In Brazil, new rains in Porto Alegre where the number of displaced people has doubled

The south of Brazil knows no respite

In Brazil, new rains in Porto Alegre where the number of displaced people has doubled

The south of Brazil knows no respite. Rain fell again on Friday May 10 in Porto Alegre and its region, still largely under water. The torrential rains that fell last week in the state of Rio Grande do Sul caused rivers to swell, affecting nearly two million people and leaving 116 dead and 756 injured, according to the latest report released Friday by civil defense.

With 143 people still missing, authorities fear the toll will continue to rise as the region expects “heavy” rainfall throughout the weekend.

Over the past twenty-four hours, the number of people forced to evacuate their homes since last week has almost doubled, reaching nearly 400,000, according to civil defense. More than 70,000 victims were cared for in shelters.

New period of intense atmospheric instability

Despite the new rains, residents of the regional capital of 1.4 million are trying to return to some semblance of normality. Shops are reopening, while water slowly recedes from some neighborhoods where traffic is heavy due to many streets still flooded across the city.

The region was expecting rain accompanied by “intense winds and hail” on Friday, according to the National Institute of Meteorology. The specialized site MetSul Meteorologia announced, for its part, “a new period of intense atmospheric instability”, with cumulative precipitation which could reach up to 200 millimeters on Monday in Porto Alegre.

In the metropolis of 3.4 million inhabitants, bottled water remains rare, despite the incessant ballet, night and day, of tanker trucks, which supply shelters, hospitals, buildings and even hotels.

“Our climate is on steroids.”

The violence of these historic floods damaged or destroyed more than 85,000 homes. Fields and machines under water, livestock farms and warehouses inaccessible, the natural disaster also hit the agricultural sector hard, the engine of the local and national economy. In the rice fields surrounding Porto Alegre, journalists from Agence France-Presse noted that the water level made crops inaccessible.

Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), an agency of the United Nations (UN), estimated on Friday that the floods were the result of global warming coupled with the natural weather phenomenon El Niño.

“Even if El Niño fades, which it will, the long-term effects of climate change will be felt. Every fraction of a degree increase in temperature means our climate will become more extreme,” she said at a press conference in Geneva. “Our climate is on steroids” and extreme flooding and intense heatwaves will continue to “multiply,” she warned.