By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The weather has not been kind to Rio de Janeiro in the last week, as several neighborhoods were flooded, stranding people in traffic and at home for hours. However, a worrying development was the flooding of the Marquês de Sapucaí Sambódromo, weeks before Carnival and the parade of samba schools.
The Série A schools have already suffered with the rain as it flooded the tents where they keep their costumes and parade cars in Zona Portuária (Port Zone) and on Avenida Brasil (Avenue Brazil).
If the rain took over the Sambódromo on parade night, it would not be the first time a samba school would be damaged – in 1986 Beija Flor paraded down the avenue with water up to their shin.
The city government has assured samba schools that rain will not be a problem on the days of the parade. To prevent flooding, Rio-Águas has released a statement saying that they will be clearing the sewage system of Canal do Mangue (Mangue Channel), Avenida Presidente Vargas and between Rua Carmo Neto (Carmo Neto Street) and the actual Sambódromo.
Clearing works will begin today, and will take place between 10PM and 5AM until February 6th. The Sambódromo is also getting cleaning services for the plumbing that goes underneath it and the rain gutters around it.
The tents of Viradouro, Porto da Pedra, Alegria da Zona Sul and Sereno de Campo Grande were also severely flooded by the rain water. Viradouro members had to run to save the floats and costumes with water up to their shins. Though none of the material for the parade was lost, the four schools affected had to spend the whole of Friday cleaning up their tents.
Carnalvalesco Eduardo Gonçalves, from samba school Alegria da Zona Sul, told O Globo: “First we suffer with fire, now it’s rain. All parties need infrastructure to work out. Today we don’t even have the minimum conditions to work.”
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