The 2016 Rio Olympics is only seven months away, but the state government of Rio de Janeiro is facing a financial crisis.
Brazil is currently in its worst recession since 1931, as reported by TIME, and officials have already cut down the state budget by $400 million. Some of the infrastructure projects undertaken by the state include a metro extension from the city’s South Zone to Barra da Tijuca, the location of the Olympic Park. There will be a need for more federal funding to complete the project, Carlos Roberto Osorio, Rio’s transport secretary, said. The project is to be completed weeks before the Olympics.
While the responsibility of the clean up of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, site for the Olympic rowing and water sports, lies with Rio, heavy pollution was discovered in recent tests. The cutbacks have also been faced by police forces, while public hospitals are not treating anyone except emergency patients. “This situation is very grave,” Orlando dos Santos Júnior, professor of urban planning at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said. “And it most affects the most vulnerable citizens who rely on these public services.”
Declining oil price can be attributed to Rio’s affected financial state. The budget with oil forecast at $115 a barrel was calculated by the state last year; however, the price has slumped to $35. “This is deadly to Rio and deadly to the country,” Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said, as reported by O Globo.
Meanwhile, InsideTheGames.biz reported that a small fire – set in a shipping container with construction supplies, close to the Olympic Tennis Center on Barra de Tijuca – led to minor damage. No injuries were caused as a result of the incident, Rio 2016 said in a statement. “The incident was quickly controlled and nobody was injured, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee was informed by the Rio City Government, which is project managing the park’s construction, and the on-site security teams,” the statement read.
The fire was reportedly set by protesters in the wake of demonstrations carried out outside the site. These workers, saying they were laid off in December, claim they have not received their last month’s pay or their legally required severance payments.
In 2013, protesters demonstrating against the social and economic troubles in Brazil had caused disruptions of the Confederations Cup football tournament.
The US women’s national volleyball team qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics Saturday. As reported by teamusa.org, winning the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament, it became the fifth team to qualify for the games. The other contenders are Brazil (who won the qualification as the host nation), China, Serbia and Russia.