Amazon’s Largest Port City Hit by Record-Breaking Flood

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Amazon’s Largest Port City Hit by Record-Breaking Flood” – below is their description.

    (AP) The Amazon’s largest port city of Manaus flooded Tuesday as rivers swelled to levels unseen in over a century of record-keeping.

    The Rio Negro was at its highest level since records began in 1902, with a depth of 29.98 meters (98 feet) at the port’s measuring station.

    The nearby Solimoes and Amazon rivers were also nearing all-time highs, flooding streets and houses in dozens of municipalities and affecting around 450,000 people in the region.

    In one flooded neighborhood the water reached 6 meters above normal (20 feet) causing residents to place wooden planks inside and outside their homes to stay dry while they wait for the water to recede.

    Elias Gomes de Lima, a local carpenter, traded in his tools for a boat to make money ferrying people through the flood waters.

    “That’s what I am surviving on, but it’s not much,” he said.

    Higher-than-usual precipitation is associated with the La Nina phenomenon, when currents in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean affect global climate patterns.

    Environmental experts and organizations including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say there is strong evidence that human activity and global warming are altering the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including La Nina.

    Seven of the 10 biggest floods in the Amazon basin have occurred in the past 13 years, data from Brazil’s state-owned Geological Survey shows.

    “I think humans have contributed a lot to this situation (to climate change) and nature doesn’t forgive…” local resident Julia Simas Da Silva says, sitting inside her flooded home.

    Large swaths of Brazil are currently drying up in a severe drought, with a possible shortfall in power generation from the nation’s hydroelectric plants and increased electricity prices, government authorities have warned.

    But in Manaus, residents are dealing with water ankle-deep in some homes.

    Residents of the working-class neighborhood of Sao Jorge are used to seeing the river rise and fall with the seasons.

    But the quickening pace of the floods in the last decade has residents worried about the future.

    “It could climb a centimeter more here or there, I am not saying it won’t rise some more, it could!” declared 72-year-old Valderino Pereira da Silva, whose former job was measuring water levels for the Port of Manaus, before retiring.

    Residents hope the waters will subside sometime in June and July, as the region’s rainy season begins letting up.

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    In This Story: Brazil

    Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America.

    Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas, as well as the most populous Roman Catholic-majority country.

    Its Amazon basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. Brazil is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country.

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