Besides human toll, mudslides will wreck the economy in Petrópolis

mudslides economy Petrópolis
Petrópolis facing new floods on Tuesday. Photo from social media

The mudslides and floods that killed at least 182 people in Petrópolis, a city 68 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, will also have catastrophic consequences on the municipality’s economy. Per the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), the disaster will generate losses of roughly BRL 665 million (USD 131.2 million).

The number was reached based on a survey of 286 companies — and estimates could go up further as damage assessment continues. Up to 65 percent of companies suffered direct economic hits, and 11 percent reported at least one dead or missing employee.

The tourism industry is one of the economic engines of Petrópolis, with a large number of historical landmarks within the city center. As much of the municipality’s streets are covered in mud the sector is bracing for massive losses. 

The head of the federation, Eduardo Eugenio Gouvêa Vieira, said Petrópolis business owners had already been struggling before the tragedy as a result of the pandemic economic crisis. “They need some financial relief,” he warned. A week ago, the federal government announced a package of economic measures to help the people in the city.

Petrópolis was hit by heavy rains again on Tuesday, and many of its streets were flooded.