The early morning storm of March 1, 2020, displaced hundreds of families, northern West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The region is located between the Pedra Branca and Mendanha mountains. Most residents lost everything they had. Realengo was one of the most affected neighborhoods, which registered an accumulation of rain around 300mm, equivalent to 300 liters of water in a container of just one square meter. According to meteorological institute of Brazil (INMET) it rained 152mm more than expected.
The floods caused landslides in the largest worldwide urban forest, at Pedra Branca State Park. A waterspout formed over at the Piraquara River, region’s waterfall, doubled the size of Catarino River. In the Barata community, close to Ocaibi street, the houses were seriously damaged and the thin layer of asphalt has broken, so the street became impassable. The water level reached about two meters tall.
The residente Denilson Penudo, who has lived in Barata community for 23 years, said the flood and unfinished works made the asphalt of the street raised up like paper. “All the parts where it was cut, the rain took it away and the asphalt lifted up like paper from the floor”. The region was built on the Catarino Riverbed. Just 30 kilometers away from Rio de Janeiro downtown, the Barata community has endured around three hours of uninterrupted storm. The mountains surrounding it still shows the landslides scars.
A week after the storm, the news team visited the site and talked to residents who experienced the tragedy. Solidarity and volunteer work gained prominence: churches and clubs began to receive donations to receive donations from different locations in Rio, helping those most affected by the storm.