MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Acre River In Brazil Reaches Record Levels In Rio Branco – Flood Waters Reach 18.4 METRES High; The Worst Flooding In 132 YEARS; One Community Nearly Wiped Out; 90,000 People Affected, Over 10,000 In Shelters!

Floods in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Photo: Sérgio Vale/ Secom (03/03/2015)


March 9, 2015 – BRAZIL
– Floods have been affecting thousands of people in the state of Acre, northern Brazil, since 23 February 2015, when some of the state’s rivers, in particular the River Acre, overflowed.

Further heavy rainfall has forced river levels higher still, and on 03 March 2015 Brazil’s federal government declared a state of emergency in Acre.

One of the worst affected areas is the state capital, Rio Branco. By early evening (local time) yesterday 04 March 2015, levels of the River Acre reached a record 18.40 metres. Flood stage is thought to be 14 metres. Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM) were expecting levels to rise further still over the next 12 hours.

The current flood situation has been described as the worst in 132 years. The government of Acre has said that, although exact numbers are difficult to verify, almost 90,000 people have been affected by the floods in the state since they first began in late February.

WATCH: Record-breaing flooding displaces thousands in western Brazil.

53 neighborhoods in the city have been affected by the floods. At least 30 rural communities across the state have also been flooded. One person has died after she was electrocuted entering her flooded home in Rio Branco.

Currently there are 9,251 people staying in one of the 26 shelters in Rio Branco set up for those displaced by the floods. There are around over 4,000 people thought to have evacuated their homes to stay with relatives or friends.

Levels of the Iaco River, also in Acre state, are extremely high and have flooded areas nearby, including Sena Madureira, where over 350 people have been displaced and are staying in temporary camps.

The River Acre runs forms parts of the border between Brazil and Bolivia. In late February the river caused flooding in Bolivia’s Pando department. at the time, the mayor of San Pedro de Bolpebra, a small town on the banks of the River Acre, said that his community had been almost completely swept away by flood waters.

“The river waters rose to 14m [46ft] above their normal level, so between the community and the authorities we have decided to rebuild a new town to avoid more damage” he said.

UPDATE: 10,000 Remain in Shelters in Rio Branco, Acre State

Levels of the river acre in Rio Branco in Brazil have started to show some signs of falling. As of 17:00 local time, 05 March 2015, the river stood at 18.22 metres, dropping from 18.40 metres the day before.

But for local authorities – city and state government, and state civil defense – the work continues to house and feed the 10,449 displaced by the floods.

Around 26 shelters have been set up to house the flood victims. Working with the authorities are at least 2,000 volunteers. Between them they manage to serve around 29,500 meals each day.

Setting up shelters for 10,000 flood victims in Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil. Photo: Diego Gurgel / Secom

Flood victims arriving at shelters in Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil. Photo: Diego Gurgel / Secom

Photo: Gleilson Miranda/Secom

Flooded streets of Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil, March 2015. Photo: Gleilson Miranda/Secom

Work is being carried out to aid flood victims who still remain in their homes. As many as 550 personnel are working to help remove families from flooded areas. 250 vehicles and 110 boats have been mobilized to help operations.

Although levels of the acre river are falling slowly, as many as 900 streets across 53 districts (bairros) in Rio Branco are under water. The floods may well take some time to recede.

City mayor, Marcus Alexander, has said team will continue working until the flood waters have receded. He said:

“We have to keep mobilized, providing assistance to families who were affected by the waters of the river Acre, both which are in public and community shelters, as well as those who remained in their homes…we are making every effort.”

The city’s government estimate that the floods have caused R$30 million ($10 million) in losses and damage. Several bridges in the city have been damaged.

Some media reports say that at least 2 people have died in the flooding. Both were electrocuted whilst returning to flooded buildings.

Floods in Acre State

Other areas of Acre state, outside the capital Rio Branco, have been affected by the floods.

In Porto Acre, located around 60 kilometers from the capital, floods from the overflowing river Acre have displaced at least 30 families. A state of emergency has been declared by the local government there.

In Sena Madureira, the Iaco River overflowed last week, forcing 96 families from their homes. Levels of the river have since started to fall slightly.

The level of the Madeira River in Abunã region, however, has risen slightly to 21.86 meters, according to the government of Acre state. – Floodlist.

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