Rains in northern Brazil have caused the level of the Acre River to rise 17 meters, flooding 27 neighborhoods in the capital of Acre, Rio Branco, and forcing around 33 thousand people to abandon their homes.
So far, the municipal gymnasium and 33 state and municipal public schools are sheltering 800 families. Another 921 families are staying with relatives and friends. 7.7 thousand residences have been affected.
Rio Branco’s mayor, Raimundo Angelim, declared a state of emergency last Tuesday, February 14. Rescue operations involve the Army, the Fire Department, the Military Police, and volunteers.
The commander of Rio Branco’s Civil Defense agency, Coronel Gilvan Vasconcelos, reports that the local government is providing food and medical care. Public school teachers are organizing activities for the children in the shelters.
"The Civil Defense agency is putting people in the shelters, offering medical assistance, and feeding them," Vasconcelos affirms.
Electricity has been cut off in the 27 flooded neighborhoods. There is a risk that infectious diseases, such as leptospirosis, could become an epidemic.
The National Meteorological Institute predicts that the rains may taper off, beginning Wednesday, February 22.