PRATOA, Brazil—After a heavy rainstorm, the country’s textile industry has expanded at a record pace, boosted by government investment and the rising demand for textiles by tourists and businesspeople.
In the capital, Brasilia, the textile industry was up by 20 percent in the past year, and many factories had closed.
Brazil’s government says the surge in the industry is a response to climate change, but the country has not yet produced enough to meet the growing demand.
“We have a crisis,” said Antonio M. Rodrigues, the president of the Confederation of Textile Manufacturers of Brazil, which represents the textile workers.
“The environment is changing, we have a lot of problems.
We have to do everything we can to cope with this situation.”
Brazil has a booming textile industry, but its growth is slowing, as the country struggles to meet a rising demand from tourists and a burgeoning economy.
Workers are now working from 9 to 5, with shifts lasting four to eight hours.
The factories are in high demand, especially among foreign tourists, who come to Brazil for the cheap prices of cotton, silk, wool and other fabrics.
Brazil is the largest importer of clothing in the world, and in recent years has been battling a series of economic woes.
Last year, the government shut down most textile factories, but a handful remain open, including in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilians say the economic crisis has had an impact on their personal lives.
Workers say they have been forced to choose between buying food and saving money for their families.
Many are now paying for their own clothing and other essentials, including for diapers, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Workers complain that the government has been too slow to provide them with the basic necessities, like rice and sugar, that many need to stay alive.
Brazil will be the first country to report the death toll from Tropical Storm Jose in 2019, according to the United Nations.
That year, a man died of diabetes after drinking contaminated water in a factory in Sao Paulo, and an engineer died after working on a highway overpass in the northeastern state of Pernambuco.
The storm left some 500,000 people without power, and officials blamed the pollution on Brazil’s lack of clean water.
Brazil has been grappling with rising carbon dioxide levels, which are linked to climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
The country has pledged to cut carbon emissions from its economy by 25 percent by 2020.
Last week, President Dilma Rousseff told Congress to invest $1.5 billion to fight climate change.