Rio de Janeiro’s governor, Sergio Cabral, has announced that his administration will purchase land from the Brazilian army to settle families that live in areas of risk, that is, on hillsides where there is danger of landslides such as the ones that have killed over 250 (and counting) people over the last two weeks. Cabral says the state will buy the property and build low-cost housing there.
According to the governor, 240,000 square meters will be bought immediately for around 46 million Brazilian reais (US$ 26.1 million). He also said that the state may increase its participation in the federal housing program, My House, My Life (“Minha Casa, Minha Vida”) where the state has 30,000 units.
These are low-cost homes for families with income of up to around 1,500 reais (US$ 852). The governor said that with disaster aid money from the federal government he expects to be able to build an additional 20,000 low-cost units.
Cabral also announced the inauguration of a program, Living Safely (“Programa Morar Seguro”) that will be a partnership with municipal governments. Among other things, it will pay rent of up to 500 reais (US$ 284) for families who have to abandon their homes while they await government housing.
Finally, the governor will ask the federal government to permit him to raise the state’s debt ceiling another 5.3 billion reais (US$ 3 billion). Out of that, Cabral says he will use 1 billion reais (US$ 567.9 million) for new housing.
The state of Rio de Janeiro took a body blow. Spokespersons for the business community say that business, across the board – industry, commerce, services and tourism – suffered dearly.
The state industrial federation, Firjan, estimates that on some days losses only in the industrial segment reached over 50 million reais (US$ 28,4 million) due to the rain, flooding and mudslides.