Rio Declares Financial Emergency Just Weeks Before Olympics

Not to mention looming 'public calamity' and 'social collapse'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2016 6:34 PM CDT
Rio Declares Financial Emergency Just Weeks Before Olympics
General view of buildings at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, Pool)

With less than 50 days before the Olympics, the state of Rio de Janeiro officially declared financial emergency while warning of a "serious economic crisis" and looming "public calamity," the BBC reports. According to Reuters, Gov. Francisco Dornelles declared the state of financial emergency Friday, requesting federal funds to keep public services going during the Olympics and to avoid a “total collapse in public security, health, education, transport, and environmental management." Rio is expecting half-a-million visitors when the Olympics start Aug. 5. During the games, the state, which is facing a $5.6 billion budget deficit this year, will be in charge of transportation, policing, and health. And things don't look good on that front.

Homicides and assaults are increasing in Rio at the same time the state's security budget was cut by 30%. Rio is already delaying pension and salary payments while closing schools and hospitals. Slate reports teachers have been striking for months, and hospitals are running out of syringes. Plus there's the whole Zika thing. Brazil, as a whole, is in its worst recession in 80 years thanks to low oil prices. And the state chief of staff says Rio is "nearing a social collapse." But despite all that, the Olympics will likely go off without too many hitches. Much of the funding for the games is coming from the Rio de Janeiro city government. “Once the games are over? That’s when the real crisis will set in," according to Slate. (Read more Rio de Janeiro stories.)

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