Brazil experiencing worst dry spell in 91 years, prompting emergency drought alert

brazil-experiencing-worst-dry-spell-in-91-years-prompting-emergency-drought-alert

Brazil is experiencing its worst dry spell in 91 years, government agencies warned and declared an "emergency drought alert" for June to September as rains are forecast to remain scarce during that period. 

The country’s Electricity Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) said that water regulator ANA should recognize a situation of "water scarcity" in the Parana River Basin as central and southern Brazil are suffering from the country's worst drought in nearly a century.

"As highlighted by the National Electricity System Operator, in May 2021, significant values ​​of precipitation were not observed, typical behavior of the dry season, a condition that should continue in the coming months, especially in the southeast/midwest region," the CMSE said in a statement.

Separately, a weather monitoring agency linked to the Agriculture Ministry issued its first emergency drought alert for five Brazilian states, from June to September.

The lack of rain across much of the country is feared to have negative impacts on livestock, grain cultivation, and electricity generation, as the nation heavily depends on hydro dams for its power.

Scientists also warned that the dry spell could spark more severe fires in the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands.

On Friday, May 28, the Ministry of Mines and Energy said it has sought to expand the supply of energy in Brazil, but decided on conducting an emergency process for hiring capacity.

"The current situation is challenging. There is no provision for emergency energy contracting," it said in a statement, citing lower than normal reservoirs.

Among the worst-hit sectors in Brazil were sugar and coffee production, which led to price hikes for the commodities. The country is the world's largest supplier of the said products. 

Featured image credit: Unsplash

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