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Impact of Rainfall in Brazil Is Worse Than That of Chilean Earthquake

Tuesday, January 18th 2011 - 16:59 UTC
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The heaviest rains in Rio de Janeiro's history triggered landslides killed at least 700 peoples The heaviest rains in Rio de Janeiro's history triggered landslides killed at least 700 peoples

The torrential rainfall that Brazil has been experiencing for the past week has had an even bigger impact on the population than that of the earthquake Chile experienced in 2010, said a member of the military who had worked in Chile and now runs a makeshift hospital where victims of the worst natural disaster that Brazil has experienced are being treated.

The “impact to the people” affected by the storms and landslides that have killed over 700 Brazilians in the Rio de Janeiro region “seems worse” than that caused by last year’s earthquake in Chile, said Carlos Mezquita, director of the hospital set up at the Nova Friburgo city hall.

The city of 185 000 inhabitants, founded during the XIX century by Swiss immigrants, was the most affected by the floods and took at least 318 lives.

“In Chile not all regions were reached by the earthquake, here everyone has suffered, it has affected 100% of the city” pointed out Mezquita. The tragedy has struck “both rich and poor alike” because although most of the affected areas were poorer neighborhoods located on the side of the mountains, there were fatalities in residential areas as well.

President Dilma Rousseff sent 700 members of the military to the affected region where there are 7 municipalities devastated by the avalanches that began last Tuesday.

The Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, is scheduled to visit the affected areas this Tuesday which count with several makeshift hospitals this, among these are those in the cities of Teresópolis and Petrópolis.

Categories: Environment, Latin America.

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  • GeoffWard

    My commiserations to those families deprived of their loved ones.
    Geography 101: These were V-shaped valleys, deep-cut with braided boulder beds. This means, even to a (GCSE) educated school child, that periodic spasmic flooding inundates the valley in spate conditions. The local rock configuration has folded strata with slip-surfaces on the scarp and valley sides - so, landslip when water-saturated? - probable.

    The original Swiss inhabitants knew this and built in appropriate locations. Later incomers built on the river bed and into the steep valley sides. Disaster was inevitable; the only unknown was the scale - and this depends on the strength of the humid air-movements through the Rio Funnel, which we know has increased over the most recent decades (Global Warming climate change?).

    If ever there was a message for the nation, this is it:
    Invest in Planning Controls and Building Regulations;
    Invest in GIS and Climate Risk Analysis.

    It is not 'rocket science', but it needs political and administrative commitment, and the funds and training, to make it happen.

    Jan 19th, 2011 - 01:43 pm 0
  • Sergio Vega

    I send my condoleces to the families that have lost members and have suffered so terrible situation and.
    Yes, probably the damage is bigger that the Chilean earthquake, because due the experience of that kind of events in Chile, the housing construction is better than other countries with the rsult of a lower damage for a almost grade 9 movement. Just compare with the Haiti earthqake one year ago, grade 7,5, and the result was over 4 times on dead people and 10 times on material looses.
    Anyway, the Chilean looses, could be lower if the Bachelet gvt. would have the resolution to act as the event demanded.

    Jan 23rd, 2011 - 11:42 pm 0
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