Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The climate refugee crisis is here

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - The middle-aged couple stepped through the muddy remains of their neighborhood. For 12 days, they'd steeled themselves for this: the moment when they'd return to their house, swallowed by floodwaters, and decide whether it, and their old life, was worth saving.

Even as the waters rose, maiming this prosperous city in southern Brazil, claiming more than 160 lives and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes, Silvia and Vitor Titton had tried for hope. But the last vestiges of optimism now evaporated.

Rotting fish lay in the front yard. Sticky, foul mud lacquered everything. A lifetime's worth of mementos - her daughter's theater clothes, an old camera - were lost. Picking through the detritus, Silvia realized she could never return. She didn't know where she would go. But this part of Porto Alegre, increasingly prone to cataclysmic floods, was no longer home.


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