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Montevideo, September 28th 2023 - 02:33 UTC



Emergency declared at Brazilian state of Minas Gerais due to heavy rainfalls

Tuesday, January 11th 2022 - 09:55 UTC
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In Minas Gerais 13,723 people have been left homeless and 3,372 have been displaced In Minas Gerais 13,723 people have been left homeless and 3,372 have been displaced

Heavy rainstorms have left at least 138 cities in a state of emergency in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais due to floods, landslides and damages to the infrastructure.

Some 17,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, according to Civil Defense and a serious accident last Saturday in Furnas Lake, when the detachment of a huge rocky wall from a canyon fell on four boats, has left ten dead and thirty injured.

Also on Saturday, a dam of a mine belonging to the French company Vallourec overflowed in the town of Nova Lima, thus blocking the highway between Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro and leading to the evacuation of six local residents. As a precaution, the National Mining Agency (ANM) has suspended all activities at the mine.

The state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil, also suffered heavy rains between November and December which resulted in at least 24 people killed and dozens of cities under water, with nearly 100,000 people evacuated.

Since the beginning of the rainy season in October, 16 deaths have already been reported in Minas Gerais in addition to Saturday's event. Currently 13,723 people are left homeless and 3,372 have been displaced.

The Lake Furnas tragedy was even caught on film and went viral worldwide through social media, showing the collapse of a rocky strip which crushed the boats and made several people fly through the air. In addition to the fatal cases, more than 30 people were injured, of which nine had to be hospitalized, authorities said.

The ten dead were part of a group of family and friends who were on the ship that suffered the greatest impact, all Brazilian citizens, between 14 and 68 years old, according to preliminary investigations.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro retweeted some of those videos on his account stating that “as soon as the unfortunate disaster occurred, the Brazilian Navy rushed to the scene to rescue the victims and transport the injured.”

It is believed that the detachment was favored by the heavy rains that hit the area, where, according to experts, it would be appropriate to prohibit boats from approaching the cliffs in the rainy season. For many geologists, mapping the terrain could have prevented the tragedy.

Known as “Sea of Mines”, Lake Furnas is one of the largest artificial lakes on the planet. The region is made up of its famous canyons and navigable waters.

Categories: Environment, Brazil.
Tags: Minas Gerais.

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