Since 2013, the Civil Defense of the State of São Paulo has not transferred resources to São Sebastião for the prevention of natural disasters. Last weekend, the municipality was the scene of the biggest accumulation of rain ever recorded in the country, with 682 millimeters, 48 deaths so far and a trail of destruction.
The last time São Sebastião obtained funding for preventive actions was in 2013, under the management of Geraldo Alckmin, when it received a transfer of R$ 1.76 million. Since then, the city has not been contemplated with any of the Civil Defense actions in the following governments, according to a survey by the Metropolises.
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In addition to São Sebastião, Bertioga, Caraguatatuba, Guarujá and Ilhabela, which were also affected by the strong storms, have not had access to state government resources since 2010. Of the six cities that are in a state of calamity, only Ubatuba has received funds for disaster prevention . In 2022, it was R$ 2.22 million.
Alerts and Notifications
The abandonment of transfers occurred amid alerts from the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the risks of natural disasters on the north coast of São Paulo. In 2017, the agency issued a technical opinion pointing to housing occupations in risk areas and places prone to landslides and flooding. “Various areas where there is formation of zones that allow the percentage increase of human occupation present susceptibility to the occurrence of natural disasters”, stated the MPF in the opinion.
In 2021, the Public Ministry of São Paulo also notified the municipality of São Sebastião about the risks of natural disasters in Barra do Sahy, the region most affected by the latest rains. The agency characterized the site as extremely unstable due to the local water activity and the deterioration of the soil, according to information from the Folha de S. Paulo.
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In the document, the MPSP informed that, due to the irregular occupation of the territory, it was possible to verify several risks. “Both cause urban and environmental impacts, aggravated in situations where there is no public infrastructure and in areas unsuitable for building or environmental protection, particularly in low-income settlements where there is greater precariousness and social vulnerability”, says the document.
“Irregular nuclei and risk areas, which already represent a huge liability, tend to continue growing and becoming denser. If the municipality does not structure itself to face the issue, a situation of worsening the negative consequences of this model of segregated growth from the social and urban point of view is put in perspective”, concludes the MPSP document.
Read more: Record rain: storms like the one that hit the coast of São Paulo are increasingly frequent
Editing: Vivian Virissimo
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