By Fiona Hurrell, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Heavy floods which caused eight landslides in Teresópolis on Friday have left five people dead, fifteen injured and hundreds homeless. The State Environmental Institute (INEA) had issued alert warnings to residents though it has been acknowledged by the National Secretary for Civil Defense, Colonel Humberto Viana, that the alarm which was sounded on Friday night, came too late.
The fifth victim, a woman, was recovered on Saturday, April 7th from beneath a collapsed house in the neighborhood of Santa Cecilia. Her five year-old son however, was found alive.
Other victims of the fatal storm included a fourteen year-old girl from Quinta Lebrão, two women from Bom Retiro and a 26 year-old man who was killed in a landslide in Pimentel.
Many more were forced to flee their homes after it became apparent that the floods showed no sign of stopping. Aid in the form of health care kits have been sent by the Government of Rio de Janeiro and on Saturday, The National Civil Defense Secretariat sent 600 food baskets as relief for the homeless.
The State Civil Defense joined in by sending 600 mattresses plus sheets and blankets along with a fire truck containing 30,000 liters of water to help clean the streets. The Ministry of Integration are calling for volunteers and donations to help those affected by the floods.
O Globo reported that, in the opinion of Humberto Viana, the flood alarm system, which is evidently in need of improvement, relies heavily on public investment and that the Federal Government are said to be allocating extra funding for the prevention methods of further natural disasters.
The floods have been the worst seen in Teresópolis since those of January 2011, which devastated the region and left over 900 people dead and missing.
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