At least 549 cities in nine of 27 states have declared a state of emergency due to problems caused by calamitous floods sweeping multiple parts of Brazil’s Northeast and Southeast. Additionally, 200 cities in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul are in a similar situation, due to severe droughts.
Minas Gerais and Bahia have been the worst-affected states by heavy rains, with 341 and 175 municipalities under a state of emergency, respectively. Floods and other disasters have killed dozens, driven over 133,000 from their homes, and affected infrastructure.
Minas Gerais state is the most affected by the rains, and is home to the country’s three most at-risk tailings dams, renewing traumas in a region which has experienced two catastrophic dam collapses since 2015.
The number of cities under a state of emergency accounts for almost 14 percent of all Brazilian municipalities.In Rio Grande do Sul, the lack of rains has disrupted crops, and Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina visited soybean producers to assess the damage. Argentinian consultancy firm Agripac estimates that soybean production in Mercosur countries has already lost 19 million tons due to extreme heat waves.