One month after tragedy, families of São Sebastião live uncertainty

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One month after strong rains and slides left 65 people dead and one missing off the north coast of the state of São Paulo, the affected families face mourning for the loss of their loved ones and uncertainty about the future. Approximately a thousand people who have had their houses destroyed, or rendered uninhabitable by the sea of ​​mud, live temporarily in houses and hotels agreed to the state government. The agreement, of 30 days, ends in the next few weeks.

Many people prefer to go to their parents’ house or settle in borrowed rooms, and do not know when they will have a room. “I am in favor in a room in Juquehy, in time to go mad, to leave without destiny, you know? I am devastated, I don’t know what the destiny of my life is. I don’t know what will happen. So, it’s a lot of uncertainty, it’s a promise,” says Edvaldo Guilherme Santos Neto, 39, who left home where he lived in São Sebastião, in Vila Sahy, the neighborhood most hit by catastrophe.

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Between one night on February 18 and the following day on the 19th, I fell in the region more than 600 mm. The accumulated, second or National Center for Disaster Monitoring Forecasting (Cemaden), was the highest registered in the country. The large volume of water devastated part of the cities of the region, causing deaths, landslides on shorelines, flooding, destroying houses and roads.

Guilherme, his wife and son, are sheltered today in a pousada in the neighborhood of Juquehy, in São Sebastião, in a room borrowed for a period of one month, by a friend. A house of him, in Vila Sahy, resisted the landslides, but is interdicted by the authorities. In the vizinha house, all of them die, with the exception of a family member, except for their own residents.

Guilherme’s house received from the Civil Defense or red cliff seal – used when the dwelling cannot be inhabited again after an evaluation by the Authority. The yellow adhesive is used for constructions in monitoring situations, and the vermelho, for condemned houses, which must be destroyed.

“I don’t have the psychological power to go back to my house, even if they’re released. And the Civil Defense does not give a deadline of when it will be released. Fiz um préstimo no Itaú e já subjei mi nome. I don’t know what to do. I am divided by my house, where I cannot live. I did not receive any amparo, no guarantee that I will receive any value from this immovable, if it has not been released.”

He affirms that, after a tragedy, he registered both at the Companhia de Desenvolvimento Habitacional e Urbano do Estado de São Paulo (CDHU) and at the Social Assistance Reference Center (Cras) of the city. “Let’s make some ten cadastros that we don’t know so that what he is. I know that cadastro was the one that I made the most, today, no one has ever contacted me to ask if they need psychological support. Right now we are surviving on the supply of basic baskets.”

Guilherme said that his wife had left their jobs shortly before the disaster, to try to start a business of their own trading on the Internet. As merchandise purchased by them ficaram inside the house and foram lost. He tells him that he never received any kind of notice from the authorities that his house was in a cliff area. In addition to the houses that were destroyed by landslides, the Civil Defense condemned another 230 houses in the municipality, which will be demolished in the next days.

“I know that this situation is in São Sebastião because, unfortunately, the public authority has not created a housing program for the municipality. Isso that pays people. I have lived in Vila Sahy for 25 years and the prefecture has never had a coastal drainage program, has never had a housing program, has never lived in the minha porta and falou assim: here is a risk area.”

After facing the lama two slides to try to save the vizinhos, Guilherme’s wife began to feel symptoms of leptospirosis: diarrhea and pain in the joints. She sought a medical service and received a diagnosis of a virus.

“My wife still has diarrhea, or body pain, because she has come into contact with contaminated water. A people I throw lama, I throw body two rubble and da lama”.

The prefeitura of São Sebastião affirms that there is no surprise from doença in the city. The municipal administration acknowledges, however, that there is an “increase in notifications of cases of doença” after the heavy rains. “In February, we were notified of 19 cases and, in March, 17 cases, which await results. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of leptospirosis.”

The Secretary of Health of the municipality says that we will register an increase of approximately 30% in the care of patients with gastroenteritis – an irritation in the digestive system that causes, among other symptoms, diarrhea – in the units of health of the municipality, mainly on the South Coast.

“No meanwhile, this trend has not been consolidated. It is common at this time of year, due to the hot climate, that people present some intestinal problems. The recent increase in cases raised an alert in the municipality, especially after the last rains.”

The prefecture directs that, in case a person presents any symptoms, they should seek the health unit more closely, including the hospitals of Clínicas da Costa Sul, located in Boiçucanga, in the unit of the central region.


The municipal administration informed that it formed partnerships with the federal and state government, through the Companhia de Desenvolvimento Habitacional e Urbano (CDHU) and the Minha Casa, Minha Vida program for the construction of more than 900 properties, including houses and apartments, which will be Destined for families that lose their homes. The Civil Defense, differently from the prefecture, says that 518 housing units will be built.

Three pieces of land are already in the embankment phase, in the neighborhoods of Topolândia and Vila Sahy. According to state management, as the first housing units, they should be ready in 150 days. At the same time, according to Civil Defense, as people who are currently sheltered in about 20 hotels and pousadas will be temporarily installed in vilas de pasajem, wooden housing units, which are being built in São Sebastião. As people, they will also be temporarily housed in housing units soon in the city of Vizinha de Bertioga (SP).

The prefecture advises that the families that are facing difficulties seek the Social Assistance Reference Center (Cras) more next.

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