Olympics 2016: Rio de Janeiro declares financial emergency in latest setback

Jake Cordell
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Rio de Janeiro has begged Brazil's federal government to help cover the cost of hosting the Olympics
Rio de Janeiro has begged Brazil's federal government to help cover the cost of hosting the Olympics (Source: Getty)

Rio de Janeiro has declared itself in a state of financial emergency as it scrambles to avoid a complete shutdown of vital public services ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

With just 49 days until the opening ceremony, the Brazilian city has gone cap in hand to the federal government to ask for extra cash to make sure it can complete the final stages of preparation for the games and keep schools open, hospitals running and trains on time.

Read more: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff stands down ahead of trial

Acting governor Francisco Dornelles said the "serious economic crisis" brought the viability of the Games into question and warned the state of Rio was in "public calamity", struggling to avoid a "total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management".

The state is projected to run a £3.9bn budget deficit this year, as tax receipts shrivel in the face of a biting nationwide recession.

By declaring itself in a financial emergency, the state of Rio de Janeiro can now get its hands on extra funds from the federal government without the need to win support from state legislatures and parliaments.

Read more: Health experts call for Rio Olympics to be moved

It is just the latest embarrassment for the embattled nation ahead of South America's first ever Olympics, following economic collapse, the impending impeachment of a number of top political figures including former and sitting presidents and the Zika virus currently sweeping the country.

The mayor of the city of Rio de Janeiro - jurisdictionally separate from the state of Rio de Janeiro - was adamant that the latest development would not stop them from holding an "exceptional" Olympics.

Most of the actual construction work for venues at the Games are completed or on track, but some vital infrastructure projects have run into trouble. An extension to the metro network is due to open just four days before the start of the Olympics.

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