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IAMOT stands in solidarity for Porto Alegre, Brazil

Not much than a year ago (April/May 2023), we hosted IAMOT in Porto Alegre through a joint effort of Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and Unisinos. We were amazed with such warm welcome by the local organising committee. Those who attended the main conference enjoyed great hospitality in a vibrant city for 4 days while discussing various aspects of making cities, communities, companies, and individuals smarter through the power of technology.

Unfortunately, if you were visiting or looking at photos of Porto Alegre today, you would not recognise the beautiful city that hosted IAMOT twice. Incessant rains increased the level of Lake Guaíba, where we had our doctoral colloquium happy hour, in over 5 metres. Over one thousand people are amongst dead (147), missing (127), or wounded (806). Over two million people have been affected having to leave their houses and relocate. Eighty thousand people are homeless. Nine out of 10 companies have had their factories flooded in the industrial areas. It is possibly the worst tragedy in the history of Rio Grande do Sul state, which reinforce the idea that climate change requires urgent actions. Regrettably, for the look of the magnitude and frequency of such events, mitigation actions are no longer sufficient. They will have to be combined with an ambitious agenda for climate change adaptation.

On behalf of IAMOT community, I want to say our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Porto Alegre and in all the areas affected by these unprecedented floods. Knowing their culture of ingenuity, hard work, and perseverance, I am sure the Gaúchos will rebuild their cities using the most powerful form of technology in this process: their humanware. We often give more attention to hardware and software; but in a moment of crisis like this, humanware is just as important – if not the most important technology form. Let us stand together in support of those in need not only in comforting their losses but also making IAMOT available as a platform to connect with our global network in the search of help and solutions.

The IAMOT community stands in solidarity with Porto Alegre during these challenging times and will walk along as the city currently resists through this climate crisis and embarks on its journey towards recovery and renewal.

Breno Nunes, IAMOT President

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