Brazilian Mudslides Show Need For Disaster Preparedness


Brazilian mudslides show need for disaster preparednessDuring the New Year’s holiday, torrential rains swept the southeast coast of Brazil, causing catastrophic mudslides that killed at least 75 people and resulted in millions of dollars in property damage.

According to media reports, the town that received the brunt of the devastation was a popular resort town of Angra dos Reis, two hours west of Rio de Janeiro, where at least 44 individuals perished. Many of the victims were found in a poorer neighborhood where houses and huts had been built on slopes.

The town is also home to one of Brazil’s major nuclear plants, and there have been calls for temporarily closing the facility due to safety concerns.

Such devastating mudslides can and do happen in the United States, where they are estimated to kill 25 to 50 people every year.

However, the Emergency Survival Information Center says there are many ways to protect households from this type of danger.

First, it recommends refraining from building houses near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways or natural erosion valleys. Families who live in such areas should get a ground assessment of their property and consult a professional about possible corrective measures.

For those caught in a landslide, the experts suggest moving away from the path of the mud, earth or debris flow as quickly as possible. If escape is not possible, it is best to curl into a tight ball to protect the head.

Personal Liberty

Special To Personal Liberty

You Sound Off! is written by our readers and appears the last Wednesday of each month. If you would like to submit an article or letter to the editor for consideration for You Sound Off!, send it to by the Friday before the last Wednesday of the month. To be considered, a submission should be 750 words or less and must include the writer's name, address and a telephone number. Only the writer's name will be published. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.