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Montevideo, May 19th 2024 - 07:50 UTC



Massive aid promised to Rio Grande do Sul to overcome floods of biblical proportions

Monday, May 13th 2024 - 10:49 UTC
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IDB president Goldfajn has anticipated a US$ 1 billion package IDB president Goldfajn has anticipated a US$ 1 billion package

The Inter American Development Bank, IDB, has announced a package of emergency measures, plus humanitarian aid and special credits for rebuilding infrastructure in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul currently suffering from the worst floods in a century, with hundreds dead and disappeared, and over a million of the eleven million population forcibly displaced.

“I want to express my solidarity with the people of Rio Grande do Sul during this time of tragedy – an unprecedented tragedy. I came to Brazil to offer the support of the IDB to the people of the state and to the municipal, state and federal governments,” said Ilan Goldfajn, IDB president.

The IDB's support package could amount to 5.5 billion Reais (approximately US$ 1.07 billion). It includes 1.5 billion Reais (approximately US$ 291 million) from existing contracts that could be redirected to alleviate the effects of the tragedy, and which could be disbursed in an accelerated manner, as well as 4 billion Reais (approximately US$ 776 million) available to the governments for new contracts. Additionally, the IDB is providing an emergency donation for humanitarian aid.

Part of the 1.5 billion Reais in resources from existing contracts that could be redirected or more rapidly disbursed can be used for infrastructure, measures to protect jobs, and to support social needs.

The new resources offered by the IDB, which could reach 4 billion reais, are expected to be allocated to finance climate resilience and reconstruction, including in the areas of road infrastructure, sanitation, urban development, agriculture, and social projects, as well as to strengthen fiscal management to address climate disasters and natural-disaster-management plans.

In addition to lines of credit, the IDB will donate 3 million reais (approximately US$ 582,000) in emergency humanitarian aid, distributed as 1 million reais (approximately US$ 194,000) for immediate humanitarian support and 2 million reais (approximately US$ 388,000) in technical assistance to Rio Grande do Sul for damage assessment and to define an action plan for reconstruction. Additionally, IDB staff have launched a matching campaign in which each dollar donated will be matched by the IDB, up to $500,000 reais (approximately US$ 97,000).

The unprecedented rainfall n southern Brazil has left at least 145 dead people, 125 disappeared and some 2,1 million homeless or displaced with forecasts of further storms according to reports from Civil Defense. Some 81,000 people, mostly families have been placed in schools, gyms, military compounds and public buildings. It is estimated that 90% of the 446 municipalities in which the state of Rio Grande do Sul have been affected by floods, over flown rivers, including the capital Porto Alegre, a city of almost four million people. Emergency equipments, helicopters, boats and military transports have rescued some 76,000 people and 10,500 animals.

Rio Grande do Sul borders with Uruguay and Argentina, and there are concerns that rainfall and excess water in the fluvial network will spill over as has started to be reported. The Brazilian Center of Vigilance and Disasters warned on Sunday of possible landslides, including in Porto Alegre and hilly north of the state.

Efforts to supply the displaced with food, clothing, blankets, mattresses and medicines continues while drinking water and power supplies begin to be restored.

The Brazilian federal government estimates crop and cattle losses in Rio Grande do Sul, with a strong agriculture sector, to be in the range of 18,8 billion Reais, some US$ 3,7 billion. The administration of president Lula da Silva has promised 50 billion Reais (US$ 9,8bn) in direct aid and loans to the regional government.

It has also been reported that Uruguayan and Argentine C 130 Hercules have been transporting to southern Brazil portable units to filter and make water drinkable.

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