In Brazil, ‘Venice of the Amazon’ has canoes’ congestion and a submerged cemetery

The streets of the city are mainly taken by canoes and boats (Ricardo Oliveira/ Cenarium Magazine)
Matheus Pereira – From Cenarium Magazine

The Anamã municipality, distant 209 kilometers from the capital of Amazonas, deals every year with the rise of river waters in an extreme way, considering that, in the great floods, the whole city is flooded. Known as the Venice of the Amazon, as the welcome sign says, the city with 13.9 thousand inhabitants has already learned to live with the rising waters of the Solimões River. The population has already learned to adapt to everything that involves their routines, especially in transportation.

The new reality even includes ‘bottling of canoes’ at the city’s main entrance, besides the city’s cemetery, which is completely submerged in the waters. The population has used boats, canoes, and traditional boats to get around the city. Whoever could travel on foot, by car or motorcycle, during the flood depends on one of these means river transportation and boatmen (or canoeists) that traffic people.

The main transport’s means in the city are the traditional canoes (Ricardo Oliveira/ Cenarium Magazine)

One of these boatmen is Alan Silva, who during the drought period also lives from passenger transport because he is a moto-taxi driver. Silva says that when the flood begins, he “hangs” his motorcycle and puts the motorized dinghy used in activity into action. Anamaense also counts because he prefers the flood period.


“When the flood comes, you have to go after something else to do to get money. So, the style of transportation changes and it’s even better because we earn more. So for me, it is better, because in the flood it is five reais a race and a moto-taxi driver is three. But the flood is difficult when person does not have a boat or a canoe, when it is easier, because the greatest difficulty is transportation”, he revealed.

From marketer to the garbage collector

No use for moving around the city, motorcycles and cars are kept and even hung in some areas of the city to escape the water. The watchman, Flávio Nascimento, says that beyond the means of transport, furniture in the houses also needs to be suspended to escape the water.

“Every year is the same thing. When it fills, we suspend things both inside and outside the house. But this year I think we will have to suspend much more, from what we see from other floods, in this period the water is lower and this year’s water is well advanced”, he added.

To survive and have something to eat, it is necessary to resort to water vehicles. To keep the city clean and controlled too. With the flood, the garbage collection trucks give way to the boats. Besides, the police also operate speedboats to keep the city safe.

Water park in house’s backyard

The water streets that literally pass on the doorstep, in addition to forcing people to change the way they get around, provide children and even adults with an extra option of fun. With the water high, the backyard and the front of houses become a water park, even though in some regions the water is apparently not best for bathing.

However, it is not only in the backyard of the house that there is fun. Children and teenagers navigate the city in search of adventures. Next to century-old sumaúma, which can be seen from various city’s points, they have fun. There, young people make the party in jumps and dives to make an Olympic athlete envy. In another part of the city, kids transform a wooden construction into a springboard to jump and enjoy the water that city consumes.

There is no land for football or burials

As said, there is no area in the city that escapes the waters of the Solimões River. Spaces for playing sports, such as sports courts and soccer fields, now look more like lakes. The water is almost covering the goalposts of a football field completely.

One of the cemeteries in the city, which is no longer the only one because there were no conditions for burials at the time of the flood, is completely overwhelmed by water. The crosses of the graves are only partly out of the water. Kill the longing of a loved one in times of flood only when arriving by canoe.

Where there is water, there is fish

The trader Francisco Silva says that the flood period makes life difficult for many people and sales decrease, after all, not everyone can leave home. Some do not have a nearby river vehicle or the purchasing power to pay a canoeist. But Seu Chico, as he is affectionately called by his family, also reveals that although flood brings difficulties, there are also benefits.

“The good thing about all of this is that it is very filling. Here the guy buys fish, because he wants to, because he entered the igapó, where to throw the “tramoia” (a kind of net used in fishing) catches fish. It’s too good”, he celebrated.


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