Skip to content
Menu

A drought in the Brazilian Amazon will affect half a million people

Severe drought has already triggered a state of emergency in much of the Amazon basin, with authorities distributing food and water to thousands.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

Severe drought has already triggered a state of emergency in much of the Amazon basin, with authorities distributing food and water to thousands.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:09 pm

Authorities announced on Tuesday that a severe drought in the Amazon rainforest may affect around 500,000 Brazilians by the end of the year.

According to reports, historically low river levels have left many struggling to access essential supplies including food and water, as waterways are the principal means of transport in the region. Fishing, key to subsistence in many riverside communities, has also been impacted by the drought.

Two weeks ago, the northern state of Amazonas declared a state of emergency in response to the prolonged drought and launched a US$20 million response plan. The state’s civil defense agency announced the distribution of food and water supplies, as well as personal hygiene kits.

[See more: Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon hits six-year low]

The main river port for the Amazon basin, Manaus, recorded the Rio Negro’s water level at 16.7 metres on Tuesday, a year-on-year drop of around 6 metres. The river recorded its lowest levels in a century back in October 2010, sitting at just 13.6 metres after a severe months-long drought in the Amazon basin.

The El Niño climate phenomenon began in June this year, bringing a marked shift in rainfall patterns in Brazil that authorities anticipate will make the drought in the Amazon more severe and long-lasting. The record 2010 drought came at the tail-end of El Niño, the cumulative effect of two unusually dry southern winters.

Wilson Lima, governor of Amazonas, met with federal officials in the capital city of Brasilia on Tuesday. At that time, 15 Brazilian municipalities were in a state of emergency while 40 others were in a state of alert. Lima assured constituents that different levels of government will “coordinate measures in support of the people living in the affected municipalities.”

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:09 pm

Send this to a friend