Natal declares state of public calamity due to rains

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The city hall of Natal (RN) decreed a state of municipal public calamity due to the damage that the rains of last weekend caused in several parts of the capital of Potiguar and in part of the metropolitan region. According to the municipal Civil Defense, between Friday (1st) and today (4th), it rained the equivalent of 264 millimeters – enough volume to cause structural damage and affect residents of different locations in the metropolitan region of Natal. The rains also caused inconvenience and damage in Parnamirim, Ceará-Mirim, Extremoz, Macaíba and São Miguel do Gostoso.

According to the director of Civil Defense and Preventive Actions of the municipality, Fernanda Jucá, the number of displaced people – that is, who had to leave their homes and take shelter in the house of relatives, friends or neighbors – is still being counted. Until this Sunday (3), at least ten people had to be taken to one of the three schools prepared to receive the homeless. In addition, although they were affected by the rains, 20 families from the Emanuel Bezerra camp and another 20 from the Palmares camp chose not to go to shelters and received mattresses and food baskets to stay in the camps.

One of the most affected areas of Natal was the Felipe Camarão neighborhood, in the West Zone of the city. At the site, the force of the waters dug a crater and forced the interruption of vehicular traffic on a stretch of the BR-226. At least a dozen properties were closed in the neighborhood.

In other parts of the city, lakes such as São Conrado, Panatis, da Esperança, Pajuçara, Xavantes, Pirangi, do Jacaré, Morro Branco, do Preá and Ponta Negra overflowed. Also in Ponta Negra, one of the main postcards of the state, there were problems in a drainage network close to the beach.

Also according to Fernanda, despite the contrary forecast, it stopped raining this morning and the oceanic weather system that favored the formation of heavy rains in recent days began to lose strength.

The municipal decree that recognizes the state of public calamity was signed by Mayor Álvaro Dias and published in an extra edition of official diary municipal this morning. In practice, the measure authorizes all municipal public bodies to carry out actions to respond to the situation, including the works necessary to repair the affected infrastructure.

The municipal decree exempts municipal bodies from the obligation to carry out public bidding to hire the necessary services and equipment, provided that the works can be completed in a maximum of 180 consecutive and uninterrupted days, counted from the characterization of the disaster, extension of contracts.

The decree also authorizes the convening of volunteers to reinforce disaster response actions and carry out fundraising campaigns with the community. And, if necessary, Civil Defense agents are authorized to enter private homes to provide assistance or determine immediate evacuation in case of risk.

On her Twitter account, Governor Fátima Bezerra reported having called the mayors of Natal, Parnamirim, Ceará-Mirim, Extremoz, Macaíba and São Miguel do Gostoso in order to offer the support of the state government. “At a time like this, we have to join efforts, above all in favor of the most affected populations. We are ready!”, wrote the governor, guaranteeing that the emergency teams of the state Civil Defense are on high alert and collaborating with municipal bodies.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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