Elea Digital Data Centers, Starlink, and Telebras are among the companies helping restore connectivity to Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil following significant flooding.

The flooding commenced on May 2, when the Guaiba River began to overflow. The storms and floods had, as of May 13, displaced more than 500,000 people, while the death toll reached 147, reports Reuters. 127 people are still missing.

– Elea Digital

In addition, Reuters reported on May 10 that around 20 cities and towns in the state are without telecommunications services.

In light of this, several companies are working to help restore connectivity to the area and aid relief efforts. Over the weekend of May 11-12, Elon Musk-owned Starlink delivered over 1,000 Starlink kits to the Brazillian state, described by the company as "for use by emergency responders supporting flood relief efforts" in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Fabio Faria, the former Minister of Communications of Brazil said of the delivery: "Thank you Elon Musk for responding to my request immediately and helping to reconnect these people who are facing the greatest catastrophe in history."

In addition to the Starlink kits, on May 9 the current Minister of Communications, Juscelino Filho announced that 50 emergency antennas supplied by Telebras would be provided to help meet the demands of Civil Defense and local city halls. In total, that brought the number of antennae provided by the state-owned company in light of the flooding up to 83.

Those antennae are also being used by rescue teams, crisis command centers, field hospitals, and shelters, as well as to provide broadband Internet to the areas affected.

Filho also released a plan for the restoration of telecommunications infrastructure in the State, resources for which would be taken from the Telecommunications Services Universalization Fund.

"Our objective is to ensure that companies, regardless of their size, can reestablish communication services. We have confidence in the resilience of the people of Rio Grande do Sul and their ability to overcome, and we are committed to supporting them in the resumption of connectivity and the normalization of communications," said Filho.

On the data center side, both the Data Processing Company of the Municipality of Porto Alegre (Procempa) and Elea Digital have had to temporarily deactivate one data center, though both have a second that has remained unaffected.

Procempa issued a statement regarding its preventative measures, including shutting down the electrical panel in both its headquarters building and Integrated Command Center, and deactivating DC2 to preserve the infrastructure and guarantee the security of data and equipment. According to Procempa, DC1 is safe and located in an elevated area with power from generators.

Procempa's 800km fiber optic network has also been able to remain operational and help telecommunications providers, while a partnership with Claro provided 4G modems to emergency teams at service stations.

The radio communication system (radio trunking) is also operational, being essential for maintaining communication with Civil Defense, Municipal Guard, SAMU and EPTC agents, even in areas of the city without cellular coverage.

Elea Digital released a statement, saying that its Porto Alegre (POA1) data center remains "fully operational" and is supporting critical community services.

Elea said that POA1 is the "only data center in the region with dry access" and is located in the Bela Vista neighborhood. The company added that over 80 percent of its data center capacity in the city is currently being used to support recovery efforts, and its tenants include the state energy distributor.

“As a committed member of the Porto Alegre community, we are utilizing our data center infrastructure to aid organizations and relief services during this difficult time,” said Alessandro Lombardi, president and chairman of Elea Digital Data Centers. “Our POA1 facility is providing secure cloud computing, data storage, and networking capabilities to enable energy providers, hospitals, telecommunications companies, government agencies, and others to operate seamlessly.”

While POA1 remains operational, Elea's POA2 data center was evacuated on May 4, and customers were notified to migrate their critical systems. Elea is also organizing an "emergency logistics route" to provide fiber, network connectors, and electrical outlets for Porto Alegre.

As of yesterday, river levels in Rio Grande Do Sul were rising again after more heavy rains fell over the weekend. Governor Eduardo Leite is currently estimating that the state will need to spend around $3.7 billion to recover from the disaster.