Rio's FavelaThe city hall of Rio de Janeiro will be removing 119 favelas entirely by the end of 2012. There are over 12,000 homes occupying an area of 2,34 million square meters – it’s an area larger than the whole borough of Leblon.

The decision has been made after all the recent floods that happened during this rainy season. Floods and huge landslides are sadly becoming very common and threatening, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but in São Paulo and other states on the south of the country, claiming a great number of fatalities.

All the favela residents will have to register and have their properties evaluated in order to take part on a programme that will assist them finding a new home. No one will receive money for their properties, so they either need to enroll for the programme “My Home, My Life” provided by the Federal Government, or the “Assisted Purchase”, where the house owner will have to find another property of the same value to exchange them. Rio’s city hall has raised an estimate of R$ 244 million to move all these families from the favelas to another place.

I do believe this decision has been very well planned and carefully thought through. With the 2016 Olympics just around the corner, and comments from abroad raising questions if the hosting city is secure enough, getting rid of this much favelas seems to be a good and, never less than, convenient decision. Of course the city hall couldn’t possibly justify it as being a security measure to combat crime.

In one way or another, Rio has been trying to fight violence and crime for a very long time. Meanwhile, the wonderful city, as it’s known in Brazil, is losing its sparkle and all the great features are slowly being overshadowed by the horrible things we hear on the daily news. Rio should be known as the beautiful city of the colourful Carnival, the warmth of the people, the beaches and great weather.

Perhaps now the city where Tom Jobim and his famous Girl of Ipanema were born will begin to be seen for its great wonders once again!

You might also want to read: Living on the edge

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