These are the latest numbers as reported by Reuters. However there is little doubt these numbers will probably continue to climb. One spokesman for an aid agency was quoted as said that some families are so decimated, there is no one left to confirm who’s missing. Rescuers are making their way into isolated areas which have been cut off by washed out roads and smashed bridges and finding more damage and more deaths. Supposedly 21,500 are now homeless.
How did this happen? More than a month’s worth of rain by violent summer storms was dumped on the sheer slopes of Rio’s serra in hours which resulted in what officials have called a “tsunami” of mud. This disaster seems to be linked to La Niña, a periodic cooling of the eastern Pacific affecting weather around the world. There is a growing frequency to these catastrophic rains in Brazil.
Another part of the problem is connected to the influx of migrant workers attracted by the promise of jobs. Many of the settlements in this mountainous region have been haphazardly set up on what could be called treacherous slopes. This almost seems like an accident waiting to happen but is certainly attributable to a confluence of circumstances leading to the perfect storm.
YouTube: Brazil struggles with flood recovery
Al Jazeera – Jan 19/2011
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