Video footage on social media showed panicked fans running and officers with guns nearby. Another video published online by a local news outlet showed some people hunkering down near the cash register of a Burger King restaurant. The crowd is “completely psychologically unstable,” the police spokesman said, but stressed that no injuries, arrests or robberies had been reported so far.
Parts of Brazil have been suffering under a sweltering heat wave this week, with temperatures breaking records and the national meteorological institute issuing safety alerts to 15 states. In Rio, temperatures surpassed 106 degrees Fahrenheit, or 41 degrees Celsius, on Friday. The heat index, a measure of how hot the air feels because of humidity, hit 139 degrees Fahrenheit, a record for the city.
It appears almost certain that 2023 will be Earth’s hottest year on record, with global temperatures hitting record highs in each of the past five months, from June through October. Scientists have said that the year’s record heat has been driven by the continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, mostly from the burning of oil, gas and coal, as well as the return of El Niño, a cyclical weather pattern.
Brazilian government institutions have said that since June, El Niño has changed the region’s weather patterns, increasing temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near South America by three degrees Celsius, while bringing more rain to the south and droughts to the north.
Felipe Galvão, 28, a systems analyst, was on the field level near the stage on Friday when people started getting sick from the heat even before the concert started. By the time the show began, so many people had gotten sick and left their places that he was able to reach the railing along the stage.
“I’ve been going to concerts since 2011, but I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said. “There was little staff and unfortunately they couldn’t do much for the fans. You could tell that even they were a little lost.”
Paulo Motoryn contributed reporting from Brasília.