Is it safe?
The good news
The World Health Organization Emergency Committee on Zika met and said there is a low risk of further spreading the Zika virus as a result of the Olympic Games.
The bad news
Here is the bad news about Rio.
Serious funding problems
Rio’s governor declared a financial emergency and requested federal funds to meet public service obligations for the Olympics. He said that without the emergency funding there could be “a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.” According to the governor, the “serious economic crisis” threatens to stop the state from honoring commitments for the Olympic Games.
The budget cuts include large cuts for the police in Rio. Police salaries have been delayed. Police helicopters are grounded. Patrols are canceled or reduced and patrol cars are parked. The police even have to ask for donations of pens, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.
Last week, police officers demonstrated at Rio’s international airport. They greeted visitors with a sign reading, “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid; Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”
Brazil’s government authorized an emergency loan of $850 million on June 21 to help Rio pay for infrastructure projects and security for the Olympics.
Crime in Rio
On June 29, parts of a mutilated body were discovered on the Copacabana Beach a short distance from the site of the Olympic beach volleyball competition.
Even the athletes and coaches aren’t safe.
Two members of the Australian Paralympic sailing squad were robbed at gunpoint.
And two members and a coach of Spain’s sailing team were robbed at gunpoint in a popular tourist area of Rio.
The new subway line that will to take people to the main Olympic venue is still not open. It was to be finished long ago. Now they say is will be open by the time the game start on August.
The New York Times summarized the situation in Rio in the article “Brazil’s Olympic Catastrophe”. The article said claimed that Brazilians saw the Zika virus as a minor problem. “According to one calculation, in Rio a woman is more than 10 times more likely to be raped than catch Zika. (Men are more likely to be shot to death.)”
Call me a pessimist but that doesn’t reassure me about traveling to Rio.
Stay safe and travel far