Rio Declares Health State of Emergency 7 Months Out From Olympics

On the heels of the news that the Brazilian Attorney General has launched an investigation into an alleged bribing scheme among lawmakers and construction companies related to the 2016 Olympic Games, Games host Rio de Janeiro has just declared a health sector state of emergency.

The declaration, signed this week by Rio governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and Secretary of Health Care, Alberto Beltrame, is in response to the state having run out of funds to maintain the overall operation of its public health system. The governmental response comes as hospitals, emergency rooms and health clinics cut services or closed units throughout the state as money ran out for equipment, supplies and salaries.

According to the Business InsiderRio de Janeiro estimates that in health alone it owes 1.4 billion reais ($355 million) to employees and suppliers and needs about 350 million reais immediately to reopen closed hospital units and clinics.

The ‘state of emergency’ measure is aimed at providing additional support to hospitals across the state, with Rio now set to receive R$297 million (£51 million/$75 million/€69 million) according to Pezão, which will include funding from the Federal Government. Additional funds will come in the form of a Rio City Government loan of approximately R$100 million (£17 million/$25 million/€23 million).

“We are channeling every effort to keep the units running, we have created a crisis cabinet and decreed emergency in Rio de Janeiro,” Pezão told The Rio Times. “This partnership with the Federal Government and the City Hall is essential. “The state has no money machine. “We depend on these transfers, especially given the severity of the financial crisis in the country, which has serious consequences for our state.”

“We are living through a very difficult situation in the state, perhaps the most difficult of any of the Brazilian states,” Pezão told reporters, “but we are counting on the federal government, President Dilma Rousseff and everyone else to pull the state out of this situation as quickly as possible.”

This situation is just one of many looming over the 2016 Olympic Games, as we have comprehensively covered past issues, some of which are still plaguing the host city.  Below is a quick hit list of past SwimSwam pieces covering the bumpy journey to Rio:

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I knew intuitively this would happen – i did`t know it would happen so quick . One can’t organize such event by using such misaligned methods .


It is unethical that Rio was even allowed to THINK about hosting the Olympics. The only difference between the immorality of Qatar World Cup and Rio Olympics is that at least Qatar is a rich country. Rio is not. And to have the Rio World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics two years afterward… who thought that was a good idea? Rio should be stopped before they put any more money into places where it shouldn’t be. Have Brazil invest in improving the country and its people and maybe let them host an Olympics a few years down the line when the country is in a better position… until then allow a country who can afford to host the Olympics,… Read more »

cynthia curran

Now, I understand the problems with Latin American Countries and Brazil was hit by the slowdown of China like the rest of the Latin American Countries. Chile and Argentina were probably one of the few that has the economic development for the Olympics. Argentina usually has hyper-inflation problems. Now, Mexico did succeed years ago hosting the Olympics in 1968 and it was cheaper then. Maybe, they should have went back to Europe. Japan, in 2020 has the resources but is the oldest country in the World.


I don’t really understand what you are saying… how ‘old’ a country has nothing to do with whether it can host the Olympics, nor does whether a country did or did not host an Olympics fifty odd years ago. As you said, it was a lot cheaper then, even counting for inflation. I doubt Mexico would be able to afford to host now, and with the shady goings on of Mexican governments and institutions, I can’t imagine ethics and morality would play a huge part in producing the Games. Nowhere did I say that the Olympics should go ‘back’ to Europe. There are plenty of countries that could host outside of Europe. I just think that morality and ethics should… Read more »


I have a sinking feeling the 2016 Olympic will not happen in Rio, but quite possiblly in Los Angeles or another country that have build in venues instead! This health emergency is the most face saving excuse to forfeit the event!!!


Sorry but its far too late to “pull a switch” and I’m afraid you’re looking back on 1984 Games through nostalgia tinted lenses. There would still need to be a considerable number of venues to be built/temporary or otherwise and the compensation costs involved in freeing up some of the existing venues would be staggering !! You’d also be hoping that there WOULDN’T be too many visitors because LA’s capacity to move people quickly just isn’t anywhere near that of recent Summer Olympic hosts

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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