Essay on Brazilian Natural Disasters

Essay by Rockabilly_GrrlHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2005

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Brazil is a country overwhelmed by natural, and human, disasters. Natural disasters, such as flooding, drought, mudslides and epidemics, happen frequently. Also, deforestation in the northern region is an ongoing occurrence. The close proximity to the Amazon and the Atlantic Ocean cause many horrible events to happen in this South American country.

Drought is the natural disaster in Brazil that affects the most people. Between 1948 and 2004, a total of 50 million people were affected by 15 different occurrences of drought. The northeastern region of Brazil is known as the 'Drought Polygon' because of the shape of the region in which people have constant threat of severe drought. This regions low and irregular rainfall causes the devastating dry spells that last from July to January. These dry spells can persist for more than a year during a drought. Brazil is a country that has many droughts. But, it has many events of flooding as well.

Flooding is an all to familiar disaster to Brazilians. In 1998, El Niño devastated the southeast region and left over 3000 people homeless. This region between Sao Paulo Santos and Rio de Janeiro regularly suffer flooding and mudslides due to seasonal rains.

In December of 2002 the southeast region of Brazil was hit with severe flooding, which lead to catastrophic mudslides that killed dozens of people. The city of Angra dos Reis, southwest of Rio de Janeiro, was drenched by two months worth of rain in just one night. The riverbanks burst, flooding the street with mud that buried houses built on steep hillsides. The people who are relatively poor are among the worst affected because they cling to hillsides, which offer very little protection from heavy storms and are highly populated.

Epidemics occur frequently in South America as a whole due to the...