Theses defended

O saber urgente do saber das urgências: Redução de Riscos e Desastres no Brasil

Sérgio Portella

Public Defence date
November 24, 2017
Doctoral Programme
Territory, Risk and Public Policies
João Arriscado Nunes
This doctoral thesis arises from the author's involvement with the theme of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), from his home institution, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Century-old institution, Fiocruz is responsible for the design, development and implementation of numerous public policies of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The topic of DRR thus becomes an institutional challenge on the basis of international agreements signed by Brazil in the UN and also due to numerous disasters that occur in the country, especially those that took place between the years 2009 and 2011.

These reflections have a point of inflexion: on the night of January 11, 2011, following thhrough the early morning of the 12th, for five hours, heavy rains hit an area of 350 square kilometers in the mountainous region of Northern Fluminense of Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil), reaching the largest local towns, Nova Friburgo, Teresopolis, Petropolis and surroundings. With a rainfall exceeding 140 mm/h, the result of these five hours of rain was devastating and impressive: overflowing of all the rivers of the region; more than 750 landslides in the mountain slopes; commitment of the entire infrastructure of public services, urban and intercity mobilization; communications collapsed for 24 hours; power outage occurred in various parts of these cities, lasting from 24 to 48 hours; the water supply and sanitation was almost entirely cut off for the city of Nova Friburgo; approximately 23,000 evacuees, 9,000 homeless and thousands dead.

The baseline reflection lies on the idea that there is a major link between economic development and the production of knowledge, which generates what Michel Callon (2001) called double delegation, with management relying on experts and scientists relying on management. This coupling moves scientific logic beyond the laboratories and scientific journals, running through and reaching out to all of Western society, in a process of mutual construction. This mutual constitution produces a system of expropriation of value, information and energy, running above the bodies and people situated in the real territories where their everyday existence occurs. These two systems meet through devices sponsored by globalized corporations and mediated by local governments, in a dubious and double position of the latter, globalization, on the one hand and on the other, territorialization.

This thesis therefore seeks to understand, from the study of the disaster that happened in the montainous cities of the State of Rio de Janeiro on 11 January 2011, the many aspects of the relationship between knowledge, management and community that condition and enable the building of a strategy for the development of a DRR device in Brazil, connected to regional and international platforms for disaster, highlighting the local resistances to this development.

Keys words: Disaster, Disaster Risk Reduction, Brazil, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation