Death Toll Rises to 57 in Brazilian Floods. Dozens Still Missing

Boy with national team jerseyThe toll of deaths due to flooding in Brazil’s Northeast region states of Alagoas and Pernambuco has risen to 57. In Alagoas, the number of deaths is now 37, and there are still 69 people missing. Meanwhile, in Pernambuco, 20 deaths have been confirmed.

In Alagoas, four municipalities remain in a state of emergency and 15 are in a state of public calamity. More than 26,600 people have been left homeless and 47,897 have been temporarily dislocated.

In Pernambuco, there are 27 areas in a state of emergency and 12 in a state of public calamity. The number of homeless is almost 27,000 and the number of displaced persons is over 55,000.

Civil Defense officials in Pernambuco report that 4,478 kilometers of roads and 142 bridges have been destroyed in the state.

The Brazilian ministry of Health estimates that it will cost 30 million reais for the reconstruction of public health facilities destroyed by rain and flooding in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco.

The director of the (Damage) Surveillance Department of the Environment Ministry, Guilherme Franco Neto, says that special funding will soon be available as a presidential decree releasing monies is expected.

“We have a team of specialists on the ground in Alagoas who will soon be traveling to Pernambuco .They are making a survey of the situation and assessing damage to health units (hospitals and public first-aid stations.”

Franco Neto reported that one case of leptospirosis had been confirmed in Pernambuco.

World Cup

This was like rubbing salt in a wound. After all the destruction caused by eleven straight days of rainfall and then the flooding, which took the lives of nine people in Murici, a small town in Alagoas (pop. 25,000) located about 50 km from Maceió, the capital, a group of survivors, about 30 families left homeless with little more earthly possessions than the clothes on their backs, settled down in a room in the local city hall where they had taken refuge.

The group had come together to watch a soccer game. One of them, José Santos, had managed to save his TV.  It was Monday, June 28, almost 3:30 pm local time, when, thousands of kilometers away in South Africa, the Brazilian national soccer entered the stadium to play Chile in a World Cup last-16 match.

The game was a chance to forget the nightmare of the last few days and enjoy a few moments of pleasure as, hopefully, their team slaughtered the Chileans. It was not to be. Just a few moments before the game was to begin, the electricity went out.

Aurelina Leandro da Silva, a housewife, her fingernails painted in the national colors, green and yellow, was deeply disappointed. “How will I see the game? My TV was taken away by the flood!”

Edson Mariano Peneda, another spectator, now homeless, once a truck driver, said he had managed to save his own TV but it got soaked and was not working.

Later in the afternoon, after the game, when they found out that Brazil had won 3 – 0, they were pleased. And everyone said they would be back Friday morning when Brazil plays Holland.

“I hope the electricity is OK then. It would be nice to see the game,” said Edson Mariano Peneda.

ABr

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