Brazil's Federal Government has denied access into the country to humanitarian aid offered from Argentina to help the victims of the lethal rainfall in the northern state of Bahia, it was reported Wednesday.
A team of ten professionals specialized in water, sanitation, logistics and psychosocial support for disaster victims were to be sent from the southern country at the request of Bahia Governor Rui Costa, but the Foreign Ministry has denied these professionals entry into the country. Costa had called for help through social media.
With the joining of efforts, we are going to overcome this difficult moment. Now, the Argentine mission awaits authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that they can come to Bahia. I thank the Argentines and ask the Federal Government to speed up the authorization for the foreign mission, he wrote.
In a note sent from the Foreign Ministry to the Argentine Embassy in Brasilia, the federal government explained that the staff and financial resources available within Brazil were sufficient.
In the event of a worsening of the situation, requiring additional assistance needs, the Brazilian government may come to accept the Argentine offer of support from the White Helmets Commission, whose work is widely recognized, the document also read.
So far, 24 people have died as a result of heavy rain in Bahia. According to the Civil Defense and Protection Superintendence (Sudec), 91,258 others have been rendered either homeless or displaced and 629,398 people were affected by the rain. The number of people injured also rose from 358 to 434 Wednesday, with 136 cities under an emergency situation.
President Jair Bolsonaro's Wednesday released on social media a video showing the delivery of supplies by the federal government to the state of Bahia. We are still in Bahia, Bolsonaro wrote. Earlier this week, the head of state had been advised to cut short his Santa Catarina holidays and headed for Bahia due to the worsening of the floods.
According to the Bahia state government, Argentina immediately sent ten professionals specialized in the areas of water, sanitation, logistics and psychosocial support for disaster victims. Governor Costa thanked Ambassador Daniel Scioli and the chairwoman of Argentina's White Helmets, Sabina Frederic, for their support. Bahia recorded the highest accumulated rainfall for December in the last 32 years.