This July 7 in the Janga neighborhood, on the outskirts of the Brazilian city of Recife, in the northeast of the country, a residential building collapsed and killed at least 14 people, according to the civil defense report. The collapse occurs amid torrential rains hitting this region of Brazil, part of the climate crisis facing Latin America.
The apartment building collapsed in the middle of the heavy rain that hit the residents of the area, while many of the inhabitants of the unit were still asleep.
After the collapse, on the morning of July 7, the calls to the authorities were not long in coming. “Civil defense was called at 6:35 a.m. local time to respond to the collapse of the building in Janga,” the government of the northeastern region of Pernambuco said in a statement on social media.
Despite the fact that the search to find survivors has not yet ended, it has been confirmed that part of the fatalities -14 so far according to a report by the Reuters agency- are three adult women, four men and four minors, one of them five year old girl and eight year old boy. One of the deceased had been rescued alive but failed to survive when he was on his way to the hospital.
The work of the rescue group has not stopped since they received the first call. According to the civil defense report, three people managed to survive the incident. Four other people who were not part of the 19 occupants of the building and who were residents of the area, had minor injuries.
It is with sadness that we receive the news that the last victims of the disappearance of Janga have just been found lifeless. We lend our solidarity to family and friends. EITHER @GovernoPE continue to be available and will not measure efforts to help families that need help.
— Raquel Lyra (@raquellyra) July 8, 2023
The residential unit was part of the Beira-Mar popular housing complex, which had been closed in 2010 by a court order warning about the dangers of inhabiting the building. However, two years later it was inhabited again without the authorization of the owners.
It was not the only warning that residents received. An inspection by the fire brigade suggested evicting the homes in 2018, and one day before the tragedy on July 7, an insurer from the state bank that provided funds for the development of the project warned of the dangers posed by the building.
The rain does not stop in Brazil
Recife is a Brazilian coastal city with approximately 1.5 million inhabitants, capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. For two weeks this metropolitan region has been the scene of copious rains that have put the area on alert with landslides, floods, fallen trees and poles. Traffic accidents were also the result of climatic effects.
In the Leme building, in Olinda, a city near Recife, six people were crushed to death by debris after the building collapsed. The three-story building, located in the Jardín Atlántico neighborhood, had also had an eviction alert since 2000 due to the risk of a collapse.
Both Recife and the metropolitan region have been placed in a “state of attention” this July 7 after the “moderate to high risk” represented by the wave of rains, according to government information.
In turn, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), at least 12 people died after a cyclone hit the area on June 16. The incident involved helicopter searches for survivors in neighborhoods that were completely flooded. The effects of the torrential rains also led to the use of boats to maximize aid and assist the victims.
The climate crisis facing Latin America
On July 5 of this year, the UN warned Latin American and Caribbean countries about the future they will have to face in the next four years: heat waves, floods, droughts, and hurricanes. The warning was made by Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the UN, who issued this information to the EFE news agency.
“We have to adapt to climate change, because this negative trend in weather patterns is going to continue into the 1960s no matter what we do, which means we’re going to see more heat waves, we’re going to see more flooding, drought, and more intense hurricanes. Talas said. The spokesperson emphasized how crucial it must be to create early warning systems to prevent future accidents.
In Chile, for example, last month torrential rains hit the center of the country, one of the heaviest rainfall the country has experienced in the last three decades. The incident destroyed about 1,500 homes and approximately 12,300 victims, according to EFE.
Taking care of the Amazon is a privilege and a responsibility. It is up to us to decide how to give a dignified life for our people and preserve our forest and biodiversity. The Dome of Belém will be an opportunity for the other Amazonian countries to assume the leading role in the search for…
– Lula (@LulaOficial) July 8, 2023
Back in Brazil, the Amazon registered 3,075 forest fires in June of this year, the largest for this month in the last 16 years, according to information provided by the Brazilian government.
The sources of heat in this region were not so high since 2007. The number of cremations has increased considerably since April of this year; in that month there were 768 fires, in May 1,692 and in June the aforementioned figure.
With EFE, AP and Reuters