Rains: engineering works, geotechnics and emergency fund should be a priority

Rains: engineering works, geotechnics and emergency fund should be a priority

Recurring phenomena at this time of year, floods, collapse of structures and landslides can be minimized when public managers prioritize infrastructure works

The climatic storms really are uncontrollable, but the impacts caused on human lives and on the urban ecosystem can be minimized and, in most cases, avoided. These phenomena are recurrent at this time of year, and as if it were a déjà vu, the newscast brings lots of news about floods, landslides and falls of structures, a situation that does not seem to sensitize public managers to give priority to infrastructure works that are vital to prevent the chaos generated by rains.

That is, they known what will happen and where the affected region will be, but the managers shrug it off, and for the victims of these tragedies the only option is to go on with part of their lives missing. Lack of attention to these priorities has different reasons. In Brasilia, the bill ( PL 294/2022) which creates the National Fund for the Support of Disaster, Calamity and Emergency Situations, has been at a standstill since May of last year, did not move forward because of the electoral calendar that changed the priorities of parliamentarians and reduced the pace of work in Congress.

The paralysis of congressmen in relation to the matter prevented the allocation of at least BRL 25.8 billion from the federal budget for measures of prevention, rescue, support, reconstruction of the affected areas and compensation of victims and people removed from places of risk.

As if that were not enough, the resources to avoid accidents like these occurred in the cities of the North Coast of São Paulo plummeted more than BRL 3 billion in 2014, to BRL 1.1 billion in 2021. The result was a budget of only BRL 25,000 under the heading “emergency mitigation works for disaster reduction”.

That is, if the tragedy was predictable, without budgetary resources it could not be avoided. Last year alone, there were more than 450 deaths from floods and landslides, according to the CNM (National Confederation of Municipalities). This year, 44 people died on the coast of São Paulo and at least 36 are missing, victims of the rains in the region.

However, the minister of regional development, Waldez Góes, pointed out that, despite this, the government reestablished in 2023 the values to face disasters. According to him, the provisional measure corrected this and there are sufficient resources for support.

Risk mapping

The cities on the coast of São Paulo that are currently in a situation of public calamity have mapped a total of 181 areas at risk of landslides or floods. The data are from a survey published in G1, involving the cities of Bertioga, Caraguatatuba, Guarujá, Ilhabela, São Sebastião and Ubatuba.

The problem is that having data is not enough, it is necessary to use them with the intelligence provided by engineering and geotechnics to carry out containment, drainage and mobility works. If there is ineptitude or negligence, it only remains for the excavators and trucks to enter the scene to remove debris and work in the rescue of victims in the midst of desolate scenarios.

Risk areas

  City  Quantity  Status  
Ubatuba2615 locations still in a state of attention.
Guarujá24Hills and stilts, where 20,000 people live in risky conditions.
  Caraguatatuba  1954 different sectors susceptible to landslides, ranging from lowest to highest risk.
  Ilhabela  16In January, 11 families living in unhealthy conditions were removed from a permanent preservation area.
Bertioga10Areas at risk of flooding near rivers.

Technology to alert landslides

Systems are increasingly sophisticated to detect landslides, which in a matter of seconds can bury buildings and cause casualties. Today it is possible to prevent a population from these landslides and carry out an evacuation of the area. In Petrópolis, last year, a stone and slope movement sensor devised by Pedro Curcio, a specialist in Smart Cities, was used and helped the city during the wave of landslides, issuing warnings for civil defense to isolate the area and evacuate residents.

The sensor has a battery that recharges with solar energy and is built to detect movements from 5 degrees of inclination on three different axes. In case of detection of ground movement, the device will notify the Civil Defense to take appropriate measures.

By: Santelmo Camilo