RJ: Two people die and 150 are displaced during floods in Baixada Fluminense

On December 22, two people died after being dragged by the current following a flood that hit the city of Duque de Caxias, in the region of Baixada Fluminense, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. A video in which a woman is dragged by the current is circulating on social networks.

So far the two victims have not been identified. Other reports show that three houses have collapsed, three cars have been carried by the current and 150 people are now displaced. There were landslides, fallen trees and power poles all over the city. Streets were flooded with water beating in the windows of some houses, and floods formed on hillsides. The neighborhood most affected by the rain was Xerém, where it rained 80 mm of the total of 221.2 mm that reached the entire city of Duque de Caxias. With the rain the Saracuruna River overflowed, a fact that helped to boost the flood.

Carla Araújo, resident of Xerém, had her house destroyed by the water. “I lost everything. I live by renting. The only thing left is my phone and the clothes on my body, because everything else is gone,” she said in an interview with the press monopoly O Globo.

The BR-040 highway that connects Rio de Janeiro to Belo Horizonte was also hit with falling trees and barriers. In Petropolis, in the mountainous region of Rio, a tree fell on a truck. The driver was rescued and survived.

”TRAGEDIES” THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED

Such “tragedies ” have already become common in our country, especially in the first months of the year and in southeastern states. For governors, mayors and representatives of the reactionary government it is very convenient to place the blame on nature, or to justify themselves with the argument that rain is something divine.

But in reality, scientists and scholars have been warning and providing solutions to end or mitigate the effects of rain for years. What is lacking is for governments to use tax revenues to solve these problems, instead of investing them in tax exemption, increased repression and public debt, all for the benefit of the big bourgeoisie and landowners, servants of imperialism.

On the subject, Antônio Sérgio Ferreira Mendonça, professor of the Department of Environmental Engineering at the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Ufes) and post-doctoral candidate in Water Resources, believes that the “disasters” were already announced tragedies, which will continue to occur if the old state does not take serious and definitive measures.

According to the professor, several municipalities have a Master Plan for Urban Drainage that, if put into practice, would prevent the damage caused. However, the plans are not executed and are made only to ensure that the cities get funds from the federal government.

According to Antônio Sérgio, the old state could easily solve the problem and end the annual suffering of the people if it adopted structural measures such as dikes, rainwater galleries, water pumping systems and other resources. And, even more important: solving the housing issue so that people no longer need to build their homes in high-risk areas.

This is an unofficial translation of an article published on the A Nova Democracia website on December 24.

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