Updated May 8th, 2024 at 13:28 IST

Brazil's Flooded South Faces Water Rationing Amidst Supply Shortages

With approximately four-fifths of the population currently without access to running water, the situation remains dire.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
The Beira Rio stadium in Brazil. | Image:AP

In the aftermath of devastating floods that have swept through southern Brazil, the mayor of Porto Alegre, a major city in the region, has issued a plea for residents to adhere to water rationing measures. With approximately four-fifths of the population currently without access to running water, the situation remains dire, compounded by the loss of at least 90 lives and over 130 individuals still missing.

Efforts to rescue those stranded by the floods in the state of Rio Grande do Sul persist, while forecasts predict further rainfall in the coming week, exacerbating the challenges faced by affected communities. Porto Alegre, the state capital, has found itself virtually isolated, with key transportation hubs such as the airport and bus station shuttered and major roads impassable due to floodwaters.


Many have been forced to abandon their homes

Residents like Maria Vitória Jorge have been forced to abandon their homes in search of basic necessities. According to a report from AP, Jorge, a yoga teacher, withdrew funds from her savings to secure temporary accommodation for herself and her family after her apartment in downtown Porto Alegre became submerged.


"I can’t shower at home, wash the dishes or even have drinkable water," Jorge lamented as she prepared to relocate. "I had just a gallon of water for the 200-kilometer drive to the city of Torres, so far unaffected by the floods."

Most water treatment facilities are out of commission 

Porto Alegre Mayor Sebastião Melo emphasized the gravity of the situation, declaring water usage strictly for "essential consumption" and arranging for distribution points where residents can collect bottled water. However, with the majority of water treatment facilities out of commission, access to clean water remains a pressing concern.

In addition to water scarcity, shortages of food and personal hygiene products are exacerbating the crisis, prompting neighboring states to mobilize relief efforts. Supermarkets in Porto Alegre are reportedly grappling with long queues and dwindling supplies, with rationing measures implemented on essential items like bottled water.


Threat of dengue is high

Public health experts warn of the looming threat of disease outbreaks, particularly dengue fever and leptospirosis, amidst widespread flooding. 


As residents grapple with the aftermath of the disaster, many are seeking refuge outside of Porto Alegre, although access routes remain impassable. With critical infrastructure submerged and transportation hubs incapacitated, the region faces a protracted struggle to recover from the devastating floods.


Published May 8th, 2024 at 13:28 IST