RIO DE JANEIRO – The Rio Negro, which flows together with the Solimoes to form the Amazon River, is at its lowest level since 1963, Brazil’s Geological Service said Monday.
The long drought devastating northern Brazil has set a new record for this river more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) long, whose depth ebbed this weekend to 13.63 meters (44.7 feet), 1 centimeter (almost ˝ inch) less than in 1963, the year that previously had the lowest level ever measured.
The water level dropped by some 6 centimeters (2 1/3 inches) over the weekend, the report said.
Concern over the diminishing water level began last week when the drought reached such alarming proportions in the Amazon and Solimoes rivers that 38 municipalities in the northwestern state of Amazonas were forced to declare a state of emergency.
According to the report, the drought has affected some 62,000 families who depend on rivers and streams in the Amazon region for their water supply, transportation and fishing.
The most vulnerable riverside communities, currently isolated for the lack of navigable waters, have received in recent days supplies of basic necessities, medicines and hygiene products to assure their well-being, the Brazilian government said. EFE