RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The waters from a dam in the village of Quati, in Pedro Alexandre, approximately 435 km from Salvador, flooded the neighboring town of Coronel João Sá on Thursday morning, July 11th, and left about 300 people displaced. There are no reports of displacements in Pedro Alexandre.
According to the town’s Civil Defense Department, the heavy rainfall in the Rio do Peixe region caused the waters to overflow. There were no injuries.
Pedro Alexandre’s city hall — located in the northeast of Bahia, near the border with Sergipe — declared a state of disaster and emergency after flood waters engulfed the municipality.
Coronel João Sá is 45 km from Pedro Alexandre. The displaced are part of about 120 families who live on the banks of the Rio do Peixe, which flows through the region. The water that spilled from the dam followed the course of the river and reached João de Sá at around 3:30 PM.
The river course between the two cities is about 80 kilometers long. There is no information on how fast the waters reached the area, nor on the extent of damages. The displaced were taken to sports gyms and schools.
The dam may have ruptured
According to the Civil Defense of Pedro Alexandre and the Secretariat of Communication of Coronel João Sá, the dam of Quati overflowed at around 6 AM this Thursday and ruptured at 11 AM.
The state government said there was no rupture. The G1 news site inquired if state technicians have been on site to confirm this, but the government replied that their official position is that the structure has not collapsed, although it failed to provide details on what happened or how this conclusion had been reached.
The state also said that the dam was built by the Development and Regional Action Company (CAR) and awarded to the Association of Residents of the Quati Community in November 2000.
According to the state, teams from the fire department, technicians from the state civil defense and the Institute of Environment and Water Resources (Inema) were dispatched to the region. Governor Rui Costa also said that supplies and mineral water would be sent to the city.
In a note, the ministry of regional development mentioned the dam’s collapse and said that teams from the National Secretariat of Protection and Civil Defense (SEDEC) are monitoring the situation.
It has been raining heavily in the two towns for at least five days.
According to the civil defense of Pedro Alexandre, from Monday, July 8th to Thursday, it rained 180 millimeters in the town, in less than 24 hours (between Wednesday and Thursday), the recorded rainfall in the municipality was 100 millimeters.
In Coronel João Sá, according to the Bahia Institute of Environment and Water Resources (Inema), a station has recorded 34 millimeters of rain over the last 24 hours, the historical average for the region is 54 millimeters.
According to Inema, the forecast is that rainfall will persist in both towns until next Wednesday, July 17th, but to a lesser extent than in recent days.
According to the Federal Highway Police (PRF), a stretch of the BR-235, which connects Bahia to Sergipe, has been completely blocked after being flooded.