Brazil underwater

According to a study by newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, the local administrations at the municipal and state levels in São Paulo had allocated BRL 5.3 billion for drainage projects between 2016 and 2018. The list of projects included reservoirs, channeling of streams, and drainage networks. But only 41 percent of the funds were spent. 

Add that to the advances of urbanization over green areas has always been an issue in São Paulo and you have a huge problem to solve. The more Latin America’s largest city grows, the more impermeable its soil becomes. Asphalt essentially turns the streets of São Paulo into pipes, accelerating the speed of the water, overflowing nearby canals. That’s why the city falls into chaos when it rains. 

In the second week of February, according to the National Meteorological Institute (Inmet), Brazil’s biggest city has registered 114 millimeters of precipitation in the north of the city, the second-largest amount of rain for a day in February for the last 77 years. Yes, read again: 77 years. 

Authorities have advised residents to stay at home, although the effects were severe. Besides the heavy rains in the capital, four people died in the cities of Marilia and Botucatu, just a couple of hours from São Paulo by car. Considering all the state, officials reported 19 landslides and more than 600 people were displaced by the rains. Authorities distributed 12 tons of food and supplies for humanitarian aid in cities hit by the rains. 

If you live in or have even been to São Paulo – a place with one of the hugest Carnival celebrations – it is likely that you’ve walked over a waterway without even noticing it… 

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