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Montevideo, June 24th 2024 - 20:26 UTC



Porto Alegre Airport shut down until further notice due to storms

Saturday, May 4th 2024 - 10:47 UTC
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Travelers were advised to contact the airlines for more information about their flights Travelers were advised to contact the airlines for more information about their flights

In a move to preserve the safety of workers and passengers alike, the Salgado Filho Airport serving the city of Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul, has announced it would be suspending all operations until further notice, Agencia Brasil reported. The Gaúcho State is going through a heavy storm and subsequent floods that have already left nearly 40 people dead and the number is expected to grow given the number of persons still unaccounted for.

Fraport, the consortium managing the air terminal, said in a statement that landings and take-offs have been suspended indefinitely effective since 8 pm Friday to ensure the safety of staff and passengers in the face of the state of calamity caused by the heavy rainfall in Rio Grande do Sul. Travelers were advised to contact the airlines for more information about their flights.

So far, Rio Grande do Sul has recorded 39 deaths as a result of the rains that have hit the state since the beginning of the week. According to Civil Defense, 68 people are missing.

More than 8,000 people have already been rescued by the integrated security forces and 24,000 are homeless.

Latam Airlines said that flights to Porto Alegre and from the capital to other locations were canceled until midday on Saturday (4). Flights between Caxias do Sul (RS) and Passo Fundo (RS) will continue, but may be affected by the rain. For passengers scheduled to fly on Sunday (5), the company is offering rebooking without penalty.

Azul has canceled take-offs and landings until noon on Sunday (5). The company also said that passengers whose flights have been canceled will receive more information via the Azul app, WhatsApp, email, and the company's website. Customers with tickets booked for the next few days will be able to reschedule their flights or request a cancellation in exchange for credit for future trips.

Gol has canceled all arrivals and departures until 11.59 pm on Sunday. The company will also accept flight rebookings without additional fees. The amount will be credited towards future flights. This applies to arrivals and departures from the airports of Porto Alegre, Caxias do Sul, Passo Fundo, Pelotas, Santo Ângelo, and Chapecó (SC).

The State's government has counted 265 municipalities affected, out of 497. Governor Eduardo Leite said the situation was still critical, especially in the central, valley and mountain regions. He also warned residents of Porto Alegre and the metropolitan region who could be affected by the flooding of Lake Guaíba.

“All the protection systems are being put to the test because of a very large and persistent volume of water. An eventual rupture could cause a wave, dragging people away, injuring and even putting people's lives at risk,” Leite warned.

Governor Eduardo Leite said that technical information shows that the Taquari River should continue to drop in the coming hours. “Given the volume of rainfall in the northeast of the state, in the rivers that contribute to the Taquari, we expect the river level to continue to drop and not rise again. But we still have to be very careful,” he said.

The state government is also monitoring the situation of the Gravataí, Jacuí, and dos Sinos rivers, as well as the Guaíba and the 14 de Julho dam, which partially broke on Thursday (2). Another basin being monitored from Friday is the Uruguay River, due to the rain forecast for the next few days in the north and northeast of the state.

Leite insisted that, despite the state's financial difficulties, there will be no shortage of state resources for municipalities to restore normality. “We're going to get money from wherever we can in order to be able to provide services to all the people,” he guaranteed, adding that the funds will be passed on directly to the municipalities, without any bureaucracy.

The commander of the Southern Joint Command of Operation Taquari 2, General Hertz Pires do Nascimento, said that it had not yet been possible to set up the field hospital in Estrela, due to the difficulty of access to the region. According to him, the structure is coming from Rio de Janeiro to set up another field hospital, equipped with a surgical center, which can be installed anywhere in the state.

More than 100 people have died in weather-related disasters in the state since last year. (Source: Agencia Brasil)

Categories: Environment, Brazil.

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