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Stories of destruction and recovery from the Netherlands, Nagorno Karabakh and South Africa; Bolsonaro's support base erodes in Brazil; narcos and cosmetic surgery in Mexico.

The destructive power of water is often underestimated until it’s too late. Large areas of Europe and China are still reeling from the damage left by some of their worst floods for decades. Across Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, there were over 200 deaths and billions of Euros of damage done. Now there are questions over whether this disaster will make voters more concerned about the effects of climate change. Although the Netherlands was least affected by the latest floods, water management is an existential threat for such a low-lying country. Anna Holligan has seen the worry – as well as the wreckage - on the ground there and in Germany.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was recently briefly admitted to hospital after intestinal problems made him hiccup uncontrollably. He appears to have recovered and has been out and about, talking to the media and to the public. But his political worries are not over – in fact they’re only growing more acute. Many of his former allies are beginning to peel away. The country’s Senate is now investigating his government’s record of decision-making on Covid, from refusing to lock down to failure to procure medical supplies and vaccines. There are allegations swirling of corrupt vaccine-purchasing deals. Yet Mr Bolsonaro can still count on solid support from some of those who helped to elect him. Orla Guerin heard from them in Brasilia.

The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of Nagorno Karabakh, is over - for now. The conflict there has flared up repeatedly over more than thirty years, with both countries insisting that the region is legally and historically theirs. In late 2020 Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive – and came out on top this time around, capturing towns and territory with significant help from its regional ally, Turkey. Colin Freeman recently returned to one town which he’d last seen at the centre of a fierce battle.

South Africa is counting the costs of a mass outbreak of looting and destruction. In and around the cities of Johannesburg and Durban, businesses and homes were burned and ransacked. The police were fiercely criticised in some places for not doing enough to stop the violence. As well as criminal investigation, the country is now also doing plenty of soul-searching about the root causes of such widespread chaos. Gregory Mthembu-Salter and his family share the national concern, as his wife’s side of the family live where the looting was worst, in Kwa Zulu -Natal.

The Mexican state of Sinaloa is deeply enmeshed in the drug trade. Profits from organised crime are an important driver of the local economy, especially in the state’s capital. In Culiacán , luxury cars can often be seen cruising the streets. Restaurants, bars, and designer fashion outlets all depend on the cash brought in from narcotics. And there's another expensive consumer fixation fuelled by narco culture – widespread plastic surgery. Linda Pressly talked to one of the city’s busy cosmetic surgeons.

Producer: Polly Hope

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28 minutes

Last on

Sat 24 Jul 2021 11:30

Broadcast

  • Sat 24 Jul 2021 11:30

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