549 cities under state of emergency due to severe floods, Brazil


More than 549 cities in Brazil are now under a state of emergency due to severe floods affecting the country over the past couple of weeks. Dozens of people have been killed and more than 133 000 forced to evacuate their homes. In addition, 200 cities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul are in a state of emergency due to droughts.

The worst affected by floods are Minas Gerais and Bahia with 341 cities and 175 municipalities under a state of emergency. 

Minas Gerais is home to the country's 3 most at-risk tailings dams, renewing traumas in a region that has experienced two catastrophic dam collapses since 2015.1

In the last few days, the state reported at least 15 fatalities, including 10 in Canyon de Furnas.2 More than 55 0000 were affected and 28 000 forced to evacuate, the state's Civil Defence reported.

While Minas Gerais has seen periods of heavy rainfall since October 2021 (the start of the rainy season), the situation worsened around December 22 when 13 municipalities experienced severe flooding.3

According to Brazil’s mining agency, 36 mining dams in the state are in a condition of emergency. A dam at an iron ore mine in Nova Lima dribbled on Saturday, January 8, causing two days of traffic delays on a major route.4

Authorities in Pará de Minas were keeping an eye on the Carioca hydroelectric dam in case it ruptured.

The landslide shown in the video below took place on January 13 in the city of Ouro Preto:

YouTube video

YouTube video

A video has also emerged online that shows the overtopping of the dam immediately downstream of the Pau Branco landslide on January 8, 2022.5

"At the start of the video it is clear that the rainfall was heavy, and the dam was full with water cascading down the spillway on the far side," Dr. Dave Petley of The Landslide Blog noted.

"As the landslide becomes visible on the left side of the footage a displacement wave races across the lagoon and causes an initial overtopping event. This quickly develops as the volume of the lagoon is filled with landslide debris. Initially, most of the overtopping is water from within the lagoon, and this is reflected by the videos from the road below the dam."

YouTube video

Meanwhile, 200 cities in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul are in a state of emergency due to droughts.


1 Over 700 Brazilian cities under a state of emergency in 2022 – The Brazilian Report

2 Massive rock topple at Canyon de Furnas in Brazil kills 10 people, injures 32 – The Watchers

3 Brazil – Thousands Displaced After More Floods and Landslides in Minas Gerais – FloodList

4 Hundreds of people lose loved ones, homes and hope as massive rain cause flooding in Brazil – WIC

5 The Pau Branco landslide – video of the overtopping of the dam – The Landslide Blog

Featured image credit: Prefeitura de Brumadinho

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