Nature not only contributor to Rio disaster


After a month’s worth of rain poured on Rio de Janeiro state’s região serrana, or hill region, in a 24-hour period, triggering mudslides and floods that killed more than 900 people, residents asked: Was this disaster purely natural or in part manmade? The answer, of course, is that the January calamity was a particularly powerful combination of the two. Rounds of Brazilian politicians were quick to point the finger at local governments. In the six affected municipalities, illegal settlements have been allowed to sprout up on encostas, the jagged hills in Rio state that have long been home to favela shantytowns—so much so that the word morro, or hill, is a common synonym here for “slum.” “[We] saw areas in which illegal occupation... [Log in to read more]

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