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The water-borne disease killed four people

Getty Images People walk through a flooded street in the Chacara neighborhood in Eldorado do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on May 22, 2024.beautiful images

Authorities in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state have confirmed 54 cases of waterborne leptospirosis after the region experienced unprecedented flooding in April and May.

Four other people died after contracting the disease, which is transmitted through water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, such as rats.

The state Department of Health said up to 800 suspected cases are currently under investigation.

More than 165 people died in the floods and many others are still missing.

More than 2.3 million Brazilians from 469 municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul have been affected by what the Brazilian government describes as a “climate disaster”.

According to local media, at least 581,000 people were displaced, while temporary accommodation could accommodate 55,000 Gauchos (people from Rio Grande do Sul).

Many cities in the state are still underwater and conditions could cause the number of leptospirosis cases to increase.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle pain and nausea, followed by vomiting.

Getty Images Aerial photo shows flooded areas in the city of Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on May 1, 2024.beautiful images
Reuters People walk in a flooded area in the Cavalhada neighborhood after heavy rain in Porto Alegre, Brazil May 23, 2024.Reuters

The state health department has warned residents that floodwaters could mix with wastewater, leading to the transmission of diseases such as leptospirosis and hepatitis A.

Brazil vaccinates people against hepatitis A, but due to the severity of this, people should still avoid drinking water or food that may have been contaminated by flood water.

Recovery and rescue efforts are underway and the federal government has allocated more than R$1.8 billion (£275 million, $348 million) to support Rio Grande do Sul.

As flood waters subside, the full extent of the damage in Brazil’s southernmost state is becoming clearer. Those who were able to return home tried to salvage flood-resistant belongings.

Rio Grande do Sul has a population of more than 10 million people across 497 municipalities. This state borders Uruguay and Argentina.

Getty Images A resident sorts through damaged personal belongings at a house after historic flooding in Eldorado do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. beautiful images

‘Climate disaster’

Critics of the Rio Grande do Sul government have accused the state governor of being complicit in the damage caused by his stance on environmental policies.

In an article published in Folha, journalist Eleonora de Lucena writes that Rio Grande do Sul’s right-wing leadership means local politicians are serving the interests of soybean farmers and ignoring their commitments. environmental protection commitment.

Under the leadership of governor Eduardo Leite, more than 400 changes to the state’s environmental laws were made, including a law allowing dam construction in environmentally protected areas.

But in an interview with BBC Brasil last weekMr. Leite defended his policy and added that dams in protected areas would allow food production.

The floods were the result of intense and unprecedented rainfall in the area. But one hydroelectric dam collapse after days of heavy rain in early May exacerbated mass migration.

Reuters People walk in a flooded area next to the Taquari River during heavy rain in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 2, 2024.Reuters


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