No-Show Volunteers, Food Shortages Add to Brazil’s Problems at Rio Games – By ANTON TROIANOVSKI, MIRIAM JORDAN and PATRICIA KOWSMANN Updated Aug. 11, 2016 2:23 p.m. ET


Security lapses, stray bullets, and discolored pools are among issues straining nation’s efforts to host a successful Olympics

Olympic swimming officials blamed a shortage of water-treatment chemicals for water turning from blue to green at the diving pool at Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Olympic swimming officials blamed a shortage of water-treatment chemicals for water turning from blue to green at the diving pool at Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. | PHOTO: ADAM PRETTY/GETTY IMAGES

RIO DE JANEIRO— Hedylamar Almeida Mussons, an approved Olympic volunteer, received an email on Wednesday morning asking if she could make her way to the golf venue, which was in dire need of English-speaking volunteers.

There was only one hitch: Ms. Mussons was still in Spain waiting to hear from Rio organizers where she should report and when.

The mix-up is one of many glitches—including security lapses and food shortages—that are straining Brazil’s ability to deliver on its promise to make the first-ever Olympics in a developing-country democracy a success.

As competition opened on Saturday, tens of thousands of tickets went unused as fans waited to enter venues and then gave up, organizers said. For those who made it inside, food and water shortages have been a frustrating experience.

The army of volunteers meant to keep the Games running smoothly has been fraying. Volunteers report that numerous would-be co-workers have been no-shows since collecting work outfits and complimentary wristwatches, leaving venues short-staffed.

Many have complained on Facebook that they don’t know to whom they are supposed to report. On Wednesday, some volunteers were reassigned on the fly to operate technical equipment at the Olympic golf course.

“Volunteers are one of the things we are fine-tuning,” said Mario Andrada,spokesman for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, acknowledging that at some venues, just 20% of expected volunteers have shown up.

Andreia Barros, a 30-year-old fundraiser for social projects in São Paulo who applied to be a volunteer, said she received a letter from the Olympic committee in late July inviting her to work at the Maracanã venue.

She said she accepted, but is still awaiting further instructions.

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