At least 170 people died after a week of heavy rain prompted mudslides and floods in Rio de Janeiro state. More than 50 houses were engulfed as mud and rubble poured into the Morro do Bumba favela near Rio de Janeiro. The shantytown was built on top of a disused landfill which makes it prone to landslides.
Most of the victims were swept away in landslides that roared through favelas (slums) built on steep, unstable hillsides. The tragic affects of the floods do not touch tourist areas.
With the images of the deadly mudslides and flooding in Rio de Janerio circling the globe, the Brazilian government has sought to preempt any ideas that rains risk turning the preparations or the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games themselves into debacles.
In a conference call with international reporters this week Brazilian Planning Minister Paulo Bernardo said funds were being marshaled to repair damages from the flooding in Rio and elsewhere (other Brazilian population centers have also been lashed by floods lately). In the call, Bernardo said 7 billion reais ($3.9 billion) had already been set aside for recovery of flood-stricken areas as part of the government’s pro-economic growth package.
He also said that investments will be made in sanitation, housing and infrastructure so that Rio and other cities will be better prepared for heavy rains in the future.
“So the government is not predicting—is not foreseeing any type of major hindrance or disaster in this regard because all the measures are being taken … We do not foresee any natural disasters … during the World Cup or the Olympic Games because … they will be held … outside the rain season in Rio de Janeiro particularly.”
On Thursday, the government also announced it was dispatching some $100 million in emergency funds as well as a new fleet of ambulances and medical systems to help Rio de Janeiro cope with the impact of the flooding.
For more maps of the areas around Rio, click HERE.