The worst drought of a century hit Brazil as it struggled to overcome Covid

The worst drought in nearly a century has put millions of Brazilians at risk of water shortages and power outages, hampering the country’s efforts to recover from the devastating effects of the coronavirus epidemic.

In the state of Sao Paulo և The agricultural centers in Mato Grosso do Sul are more affected. November-March was the lowest rainfall in 20 years since the rainy season.

The water level in the Ant cantilever system, which serves about 7.5 million people in the city of Sao Paulo, has dropped below one tenth of its capacity this year. The Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy has called it the worst drought in the country in 91 years.

“Recently we were without water for another day, but it usually happened at night. “But on Thursday we did not have water all day,” said Nilza Maria Silva Duarten of the Sao Paulo Workers’ East.

José Francisco Goncalves, a professor of ecology at the University of Brazil, said the drought was having a devastating effect on agriculture, which accounts for about 30 percent of gross domestic product.

“Lack of water in rivers and reservoirs means that farmers will not be able to irrigate their lands, which will lead to a decline in agricultural production,” he said.

Peasant worker stands by the dry shores of the Are Akare River © Jonne Roriz / Bloomberg

He predicted that the drought would “increase inflation, lower commodity prices and reduce Brazil’s GDP.” It has direct consequences. “

Jose Odilon, a farmer from Ribeiran Preto, a thriving agricultural center in the interior of S Պo Paulo, says he has had a big impact on his cane harvest.

His huge plantation is equipped with heavy agricultural equipment, most of which is automated to remove the cane from the owners, harvest the stem, and then dump it into the waiting fleet of Mercedes trucks to transport to local mills.

“We will suffer more from a lack of soil moisture,” he explained. “It really hinders development.”

Odilon blamed the La Nina weather reversal, which means more rain in the Amazon Basin and less in the south.

Map showing extreme drought in southern Brazil

Marcelo Laterman, a climate advocate for Brazil’s Greenpeace, says the drought is “directly linked” to deforestation in the Amazon, which rose to levels above last decade last year. Forest water treatment systems play a vital role in the distribution of torrential rainfall in South America.

As the hydropower plant accounts for about 65 percent of Brazil’s electricity mix, drought has also limited electricity generation. This has forced the transition to more expensive thermal energy, which is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher for businesses and consumers this year.

“Our current model based on hydroelectric thermal energy is not sustainable,” Luterman said. “Increased drought puts pressure on reservoirs of hydropower plants. Our response is to activate thermal power plants, which, in addition to being expensive, increases greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbates the problem.”

The Brazilian government has warned of possible power outages, fearing that energy use will be considered. According to local media outlets, the government is preparing for rationalization to control the use of electricity during shortages. The Ministry of Mines and Energy said it was considering energy rationalization “with larger consumers and industry for greater energy demand.”

The low water level of the Acare River can be seen in the Jaguari Reservoir near the town of Jo Anopolis in Sաo Paulo © Jonne Roriz / Bloomberg

Silva Duarte said. “Our electricity bill is definitely more expensive. I do not know how we will manage, because our salary has not increased. They said prices would rise further. Where will it stop? ”

The drought comes as Brazil struggles with the economic and social consequences of the epidemic. Nearly half a million Brazilians were killed Covid-19:երկրորդ Mortality rate remains above 2000 per day after the deterioration of any second country, second only to the US

The spread of vaccines in the country has also slowed down, only starting to gain momentum. More than a quarter of Brazil’s 212 million people have now been hit hard.

Consumer prices rose by more than 8% in May, combined with high unemployment to hit the country’s poorest citizens.

Less than half of Brazilians now have enough food, and 19 million people, or 9 percent of its population, are starving, according to the Brazilian Food Sovereignty Research Network.

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