Floods in Rio, “A Disaster Foretold”

In Brazil’s political culture, politicians prefer to hand out money to fix problems rather than prevent them. Such basic flood-prevention measures as building and unblocking drains, trying to prevent soil erosion and keeping poor residents from building on cheap but vulnerable land can’t compete with the attention generated by handing out wads of cash. “When these disasters occur we know what will happen: The politician will survey the disaster area from a helicopter, then touch down and declare solidarity with the families and then announce a big rescue package so that he looks like the savior,” Castello Branco said. “What they should be doing is going there when the sun shines to stand on the edge of a hill and announce that people living there will be removed from the high risk area. But no one wants to do that.”

Brazil’s Murderous Floods: A Disaster Foretold – TIME

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