Favelas: What is life like in Brazil’s cities of hope?

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page on favelas, which provides a very good overview of what favelas are like:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Favelas

attempts are always being made to improve the quality of life for people in favelas. Here are some results from early in 2009:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7870395.stm

In April 2009 there were further attempts to improve some of Rio’s most troubled favelas:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8003829.stm

A fire in a Sao Paulo favela demonstrated how much of a hazard this can be to shanty town dwellers:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8301926.stm

Favelas are built on available land as close to opportunities for work as possible. As developing world cities have grown rapidly in the second half of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century, the land now still available tends to be that which is liable to folloding and other hazards. Rio is ringed by hills and many of the favelas are built on steep slopes. The development of housing means that fewer trees are available to intercept rainfall. This, cobined with the lack of proper drainage infrastructure makes these settlements particularly prone to landslides, which have devastating consequences, such as this on in April 2010:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8605386.stm & http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/08/rio-landslide-brazil & http://news.discovery.com/earth/mudslides-rio-de-janeiro-death-disaster.html

Rescuers attempted to find people buried in the landslide:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8610666.stm

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