Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We are safe, thanks for asking

Yeow - it has been raining like crazy! Monday evening Zozó and Luiz went up to the house in Itaipú to gather a few things while I taught a couple English classes in our apartment. Little did we know what was coming.

As night settled in the sky opened up. Fierce rains. Before long the street in front of our apartment was flooded (as is typical, unfortunately). Then I got a call from Luiz. The roads were flooded between Itaipú and Icaraí so they were going to spend the night at the house.

The rain continued through the night. By morning the house (high and dry) was surrounded by water, the front yard was flooded and the pool had overflowed. The central street in the neighborhood was a river. Luiz and his mother weren't going anywhere any time soon. We watched the television and spoke by phone throughout the day.

The news was filled with rain horror stories and incredible images of flooded streets and whole neighborhoods. It has been the worst rainfall in 44 years with nearly a foot of rain falling in less than 24 hours. Go here to see pictures posted online from the local newspaper. Incredible.

So far more than 100 people have died in rain-related situations. As is so often the case with heavy rains, mudslides take whole houses down the hillside, crashing into other houses on the way down. It's horrible. And more often than not those affected are very poor people with no way forward.

Luiz reports a lot of damage in the neighborhood where the house is located. Fallen trees, flooded houses, lack of electricity, no food stores are open (and they don't have anything in the house) and the road between them and the safe comfort of the apartment is blocked by a landslide. Sigh.

Hopefully the sky will rain itself out today, the floods subside, and things will get back to normal soon. Fingers crossed.

Update: a family friend was able to find a circuitous route to get Luiz and Zozó back to our apartment. The rain has stopped. Lots of stress is now waning. It's great to be back together again.

Futher update: It is Friday and the rain continues. There was a disasterous mudslide here in Niterói when a portion of a favela built on an old trash dump took down some 60 houses. More info here.

1 comment:

Quentin&Heather said...

Fingers crossed here as well. Praying that the rain subsides and the waters recede. Glad you are all safe for now, and hoping/praying that Luiz & his mom are able to get safely to the apartment soon.