On Monday afternoon at 17 o’clock the rain came. Slowly, tentatively, but with the force of a Roberto Carlos free kick, he met in Rio de Janeiro.
On the South-East of the Brazilian metropolis of rain drops, some bigger than hazelnuts fell. The next day, a statistician found that in Rio have never seen so much rain had fallen as of Monday to Tuesday. The Copacabana, the wonderful, emptied ending sandy beach, within minutes. People ran in Bars or Hotels, have brought themselves and their belongings in safety. Then the Wait began.
hours later, the Storm was raging still. Internet, TV, and Radio worked just unreliable. Who was inside, who in the meantime had started with card games or starting to get drunk. But while the Wait was on the end for the Privileged an annoying necessity, it meant for the destitute population in a struggle with death.
Favella the rain
shipped to two kilometers adjacent to the world-famous tourist destination, the Morro is Babilônia. On a steep mountain ridge that separates the districts of Copacabana and Botafogo, have built the Poorest of the poor in their homes. Thousands don’t live there, exact counts are not possible. Again and again the Favela device in the hands of the drug lords, as long as the police carries out a cleansing action, and for a few months safety. Currently it is rather quiet again in the Morro da Babilônia. But not in the night on Tuesday.
The houses, from the cheapest brick built, stacked and strung together, braving pride of the rain. But the real danger came from the rear and below. Softened by the water, turned to the sandy-rocky substrate in mud, and began to move. Slowly at first, down the slopes, then faster, into the houses. Trees were uprooted, bicycles carried away. Those who could, up and fled the mountain. Many stayed and prayed. At least three people died that night, just a few meters from my Hotel. Whether you were swept away by the mud, or falling objects, slain, is not currently known. How many people lost their entire possessions, will probably never be resolved.
grandmother and grandson died in a Taxi
the poor in The Morro da Babilônia were the only victim of this monsoon season, which lasted until Tuesday evening. Rio is not designed, large water masses to process. The sewer system was not eventually built on, is clean, just sparse. Outflows do exist, however, they are often congested. Many Brazilians, particularly the less educated, throw your waste with preference on the road, where he remains, then, depending on the whim of the authorities, longer or shorter.
This was a grandmother and her grandson to the disaster, visited on Monday evening in a shopping centre. There was a Party to 22.45 PM, the two made their way home. Directly after the shopping center there is a Tunnel that leads to Copacabana. The grandmother and the grandson, however, decided, to take the Umfahrstrasse. Whether they were afraid, in the Tunnel, getting stuck, or whether the road was closer to your home, do not know you. What is certain is that the Three arrived on the other side. The Taxi was swept away by the masses of water, all the occupants were reported missing. In the course of Tuesday, the fire Department found the three bodies in the car, filled in by mud masses.
Ten Dead – on the weekend, it’s raining again
a Total of at least ten people have died since Monday. Most in the neighborhoods of Copacabana and Ipanema. But also in the West opposite Gavea the body of a man was found, overturned in a flooded street, apparently of his motorcycle and of the water masses swept away. It could take days to know the exact numbers of victims. Weeks, until the damage is known and months, or even years, until they are repaired.
While I write these lines, it is Wednesday morning, Swiss time. More than 30 hours after the rain came. The water is now gone back to the main roads “only” ankle-deep. Some of the Tunnels are still flooded, just like countless houses. The people come only with difficulty to their jobs, the mayor has already declared a state of emergency. The weekend is again announced rain. The people pray that he is gracious.