Civil Defense spokesmen in the capital of the state of Acre, Rio Branco, in the North of Brazil, report that 861 families are presently housed in temporary shelters due to the rains that have fallen for over ten consecutive days in the region.
"They are in a covered gym, an exposition park and schools," says colonel Gilvan de Oliveira, the head of Rio Branco Civil Defense.
"For the time being, things are under control. We have food and are keeping everyone comfortable. But we are concerned that the water may rise even more."
Oliveira’s concern is real. He points out that last September, at the height of a historic drought, the Acre River was exactly 1.6 meters deep. At the moment it is 16.6 meters deep and rising.
"Our alert level is 13.9 meters. At 14 meters the water escapes the riverbed and we get flooding," says colonel Oliveira, adding that so far an estimated 7,800 structures have been flooded in the city, 90% of them residences.
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