Residents of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being flooded for the second year in a row, with hundreds of thousands of people already affected by still-rising waters.
The La Nina phenomenon, which happens when Pacific Ocean currents influence global climate patterns and are exacerbated by climate change, has been connected to heavy rainfall in the Amazon during the last two years, according to scientists.
Manaus, the Amazon’s largest city, began monitoring flood levels in 1902 and has experienced seven of the region’s worst floods, including this year’s.
“Unfortunately, severe floods have occurred repeatedly in the last decade,” Luna Gripp, a geosciences researcher for the Brazilian Geological Survey who monitors river levels in the western Amazon, told The Associated Press in a text message. “It’s proof that extreme climate events are becoming more common.”
According to the state’s civil defense office, rising waters have impacted an estimated 367,000 residents in Brazil’s Amazonas state alone.
“I dealt with the flood last year, and now I’m dealing with the flood in 2022,” said Raimundo Reis, a fisherman who lives in Iranduba, a city across the river from Manaus, with his son.
He’s improvising an elevated floor inside his house to stay above the water with wooden planks.
“You see the difficulties and unfulfilled promises of river-dwelling life.” “Politicians only come here during election season,” Reis said, adding that he has received no assistance from the government.
Peak flooding in Manaus usually happens in mid-June, and it takes weeks — if not months — for it to subside. The Negro River was above the 29-meter flood line for 90 days last year.
The Jurua, Purus, Madeira, Solimoes, and Amazon rivers have all been flooded, prompting 35 municipalities in Amazonas to declare states of emergency.
Flooding causes significant damage to agriculture, which is traditionally done in the Amazon near riverbanks where the soil is more fertile, according to Charlie Barros, the state’s civil defense authority. According to him, food distribution is one of the most pressing needs at the moment.
At the Manaus measuring station, the Negro River reached a depth of 29.37 meters (96 feet) on Monday, compared to a record of 30.02 meters last year.