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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Katrina of the South and the State of Emergency

Heavy rains pounding the state of Rio de Janeiro in the last two days have wreaked havoc in the every day lives of the inhabitants of Duque de Caxias and Nova Iguaçú.

Floods caused by the overflowing of the Sapuraí river have driven people out of their homes to take shelter in evangelical churches and schools in the submerged neighborhoods.

That floods, landslides and other natural phenomena should happen is perfectly acceptable. What isn’t, and here it is shown to perfection, the complete disregard that the poor, more ethnic population of the state, or any other state in Brazil, are to live with on a daily basis. One victim complained that this is the second time she loses her home to the rain.

Such events, bad as they seem, serve to show and instruct the wider population that all is not well. While many in the south side of Rio de Janeiro live in clover, countless others live in abject poverty.

For one 19-year-old mother of four, including twins, with two front teeth missing, there was nothing else she could do but to wait out for the waters to drain. While others, like this writer, hopes that the only thing that won’t drain is his patience.

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