Areia Preta, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Dunes: Triumph and Tragedy

Natal prides itself on having dramatic dunes along its seafront. The new stadium in town - Arena das Dunas - is named after them. US Vice President Joe Biden was there to watch his nation's team triumph over Ghana in the World Cup game on Monday, June 16th. But two days earlier, a long deluge of rain took its toll on this dune, with tragic consequences for several families living atop it. Their humble structures along Rua Guanabara collapsed into a huge gulley formed when drainage culverts clogged with refuse overflowed. The heavy rain washed away the sand under the street and the houses, and it all went sliding down toward the beach. Local residents had noticed the beginnings of the problem a week earlier, but the city's remedial measures weren't enough to prevent the disaster.

Dunes: Triumph and Tragedy