Carolina Pimentel Reporter Agencia Brasil
Brasília – Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, the largest city in the Amazon region (population 2.2 million) and the center of manufacturing, commerce and finances in the Northern region of Brazil, is presently faced with record-breaking water levels in local rivers. The city sits on the banks of the Rio Negro, close to its mouth where it flows into the Amazon River. At that point, the Rio Negro is around 14 kilometers wide!
What many people do not know is that in Brazil the famous Amazon River is known as the Solimões River up to point where it reaches Manaus; after it passes the city, at the point of confluence with its largest tributary, Rio Negro, Brazilians recognize it as the Amazon River. Trivia: Manaus is located “only” 1,500 kilolmeters from the mouth of the Amazon River. But the city is located over 5,000 kilometers from the source of the Amazon river. And the source, high in the Andes, is just less than 200 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean.
The really bad news is that the height of the rainy season in the Amazon is in June. This year, with the situation what it is as May begins, there are clear signs that the flooding will indeed reach historic levels.
Manaus is subject to periodic flooding. At this moment, the Rio Negro is at 30 meters, a level considered critical. The Brazilian Geological Service began making alerts at the beginning of April. Already some 20,000 people are in immediate danger, says the mayor, Amazonino Mendes, as he declared the city in a state of emergency over the weekend.