The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, thanked this Thursday for an offer of help presented by the Government of Argentina to attend to the emergency generated by the rains in the state of Bahia, but said that at this time “it would not be necessary.”
The help offered by the Government of Alberto Fernandez was destined for the state of Bay, which since the beginning of this month has suffered heavy rains that have caused at least 24 deaths, left dozens of cities under water and forced nearly 100,000 people to abandon their homes.
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As Bolsonaro explained in his social networks, Argentina offered “assistance of 10 men (‘white helmets’)” to collaborate “in the assembly of tents, selection of donations and psychosocial assistance” to the people affected by the floods.
However, he said that “the fraternal Argentine offer” was received “when the Armed Forces, in coordination with Civil Defense, were already providing this type of assistance”, even with “three military helicopters”.
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“For that reason, the evaluation was that Argentine aid would not be necessary at that time, but could be triggered, in a timely manner, in the event of a worsening of conditions,” he said.
He also guaranteed that the Brazilian government “is open” to international aid and that it has already accepted “donations from the Japan Cooperation Agency”, such as “tents, mattresses, blankets, plastic bottles and water purifiers.”
The floods in Bahia have coincided with Bolsonaro’s vacation on a beach in the south of the country, which has generated criticism of the president for his decision not to interrupt his rest.
During this week, Bolsonaro has been shown walking in front of the beach on an Armed Forces jet ski, similar to those used by some lifeguards in the state of Bahia, which helped fuel the outrage of the opposition, which has protested against the “indifference” of the president in the face of this situation.
The governor of Bahia, Rui Costa, of the opposition Workers’ Party (PT), regretted the rejection of Argentine aid and said that “the president, throughout his tenure, has shown contempt in relation to human life.”
Deputy Gleisi Hoffmann, president of the PT, led by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, favorite for next October’s elections, also protested Bolsonaro’s decision.
“As if it was not enough to be on vacation while the people of Bahia suffer homelessness and food and lie about relief for those affected, now Bolsonaro refuses humanitarian aid from Argentina,” he wrote on his social networks.
The president, for his part, has insisted that the Government provides all the necessary aid, which has freed up resources for the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the rains and stressed that four of his ministers are in Bahia giving “timely” assistance to the authorities of that state.
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