By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – President of Brazil, Michel Temer, announced on Tuesday in the Northeastern city of Maceio, that the federal government would disburse over R$755 million to fifteen Brazilian states to help residents cope with the chronic drought.
“We have many projects for the Northeast, but the most distressing and instantaneous is the water problem. We have to take action. We are now focused on that reality,” said President Temer during a ceremony in the state of Alagoas to announce investments in the region.
With the investments the government plans to construct over 133,000 water reservoirs to capture rainwater. Of this total, seven thousand will be constructed in public schools, 50,000 will be directed towards the productive areas and 76,500 will be used for consumption.
Among the almost one thousand municipalities in Brazil currently facing emergency situation due to extreme drought, over 870 are located in the Northeastern region. In some locations in the state of Sergipe and Bahia there has be no rainfall for the past year.
According to FUNCEME (Water Resources and Meteorology Foundation of Ceara) almost the entire Northeastern region of Brazil faces a drought scenario, even the coastal areas, with impacts such as loss of crops, death of herds and drying up of water reservoirs.
With the a severe drought situation since 2012 residents in many Northeastern municipalities have resorted to traveling more than two miles to retrieve water from shrinking basins. Others obtain water once a week from water trucks provided by local governments.
“If at the end of my administration I can say that we took water into the semi-arid region [of the Northeast]…not rainwater but water brought by the works made by the federal government, I will be satisfied, I will say I conducted a good administration,” concluded President Temer.