Shelters for people who lost their homes during flooding in Duque de Caxias, a city located 15 km from the capital, one of the hardest hit areas where more than 1500 people had to leave their homes over the new year period. Duque de Caxias, Brazil. 04/01/2010.
Four days after the flood that devastated many cities in Rio de Janeiro State, there are still places dampen. “I woke up with de water coming over my shoulder. I was alone with my four-year-old brother. Then I left my home and went to the street”, said Josias Cruz, eight years old, who does not forget the 30th December when not only him, but thousands of people have lost their houses.
In Duque de Caxias, a city located 15 km from the capital, was one of the most thwarted localities, where more than 1500 dwellers had to leave their homes and one person died. Many of them had to go to improvised shelters, which some were built in schools closed because of holidays.
The biggest shelter works in Cora Coralina Ciep, with 250 people, near a poor area that had suffered the biggest injuries of the strong rain by the end of 2009. “I spent the reveillon in the church. I lost everything I had. It’s all rotten now. Everything full of mud and animals, such as slugs, rats and even snakes”, told Maria de Lourdes, 55 years old.
But situations like that are usual in Baixada Fluminense region. “This is the second time in less than a year I come here with my family. I don’t have other place to live”, explained Janice Ferreira, that was in the shelter with other five people.
According to the coordinator of Rescue Service, Ronaldo Reis, the rainfall was of 250mm in 12 hours, almost the double of the expected for the whole month. Besides, this was the stronger rain since 1988.
The rescue team has been work hard since the last days of 2009. “I was saved by these men that put me in a small boat. The water was already in my neck. I cannot walk properly, so I could not left my home”, said a 70 years old lady, crying. Even after the floods, the rescue work continues. Today, they had 350 occurrences to check, most of them of risk places.
Other two counties in the region called Baixada Fluminense had a lot of injury: 350 unlogged in each city. The worst situation, though, happened in Angra dos Reis, a beach region located in Costa Verde (Green Coast in English), where more than 50 people have died and workers still look for bodies.
The Environment secretary, Marile Ramos, said today that will ask president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, in his next visit to Rio, still in January, for R$ 550 million (US$ 250 million) capital investment to building works in Baixada.