EL ESPECTADOR, October 17, 2023
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
In the Amazon region that lies in Brazil, more than 500,000 people have been affected by the drought that has extended until early November.
The drought is continuing to affect Amazonía. Just a few days ago, the River Dolphins Initiative of South America (SARDI) and the nine organizations that make up its membership reported that there are a half million people affected, and that in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, 55 of the 62 municipalities have declared a state of emergency.
Right now, the Río Negro, the second largest river in Amazonas, has reached the lowest water level since the levels have been recorded officially. According to the Port of Manaos, on Monday, October 17, the water level in the river was barely 13.59 meters. That represents a reduction of 17 meters in comparison with the level registered in June of 2021 (30.02 meters).
The river’s tributary, which extends for 1,700 kilometers, passing through Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, had registered similar levels in 2010 when it reached a level of 13.03 meters.
This situation has affected the navigation of ships which permit the exchange of merchandise for export in the area, especially from Manaos, a city with more than 2 million inhabitants.
Besides that, the drought has already affected 112,000 people who fish for a living, according to authorities in the Brazilian part of the Amazon. The Madeira River has also registered historically low levels, which has caused the suspension of operations by the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam, the fourth largest in Brazil.
Even though the situation is already worrisome, specialists at the National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA) warn that the water level could be reduced even more, as it’s expected that the drought in the region will last until early November.
Worsening that situation is the fact that at least 130 pink dolphins and 23 gray dolphins died in recent weeks in Lake Tefé, where the water temperature reached nearly 40 C., where the normal average is 10 degrees lower.