The Nation and the World

Severe flooding strikes southern Brazil

Brazil is experiencing one of its worst floods in history. Since late April and early May, record-breaking torrential rains have caused immense damage to the State of Rio Grande do Sul, located in southern Brazil.

Al Jazeera reported 161 casualties and The Civil Defense of Rio Grande do Sul announced 104 people missing, 806 injured, roughly 540,200 citizens displaced, and a total of around 2,282,000 people afflicted across 461 municipalities. 

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made emergency funds available and began preparing for the outcomes of this disaster, such as climate migration. Some families in this area have been forced to cut down on food and preserve resources, approximately half a million people have fled their homes – over 77,000 of whom are in public shelters – and thousands are currently homeless. According to The Washington Post, scientists have anticipated that the water levels won’t go below 10 feet by the end of May. 

In early May, Ana Lebl ‘26, an international student from Sao Paulo, Brazil, held a bake sale to raise money for the people suffering in her home country. Both faculty and students contributed by bringing baked goods and helping sell them. The fundraiser made a total of 537.03 USD (2747.37 BRL) which Ana will send to Brazil so that we can help those in need. 

Additionally, disinformation has been added to this tragedy. According to Al Jazeera, some videos, posts, and articles claim that President Lula da Silva had blocked aid and medicine shipments to Brazil. While these claims are false, this situation brings up how disinformation continues to spread alongside complications in the world. Similarly, a social media post falsely stated that the region was running out of necessary food due to Rio Grande du Sul producing 70 percent of Brazil’s rice. Fortunately, rice producers throughout the country revealed that over 84 percent of the season’s harvest had been saved before the rains began. 

As these heartbreaking floods continue within the region, organizations like Operation Blessing have been providing the victims with food, safe water, solar lamps, hygiene kits, and cleaning supplies. The UNHCR has been helping Brazilian nationals, refugees, and migrants who have been displaced, even launching the Climate Resilience Fund to “reinforce the need to build the resilience of refugees”. 

Map source: ResearchGate. Photo source: The Guardian.

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