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Record-breaking floods devastate southern Brazil, leaving dozens dead and missing

Record-breaking floods devastate southern Brazil, leaving dozens dead and missing
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 5, 2024 7:15 PM

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, experiences a deadly flood resulting in 39 deaths and 68 missing people, exceeding the damage of a historic downpour in 194

The state civil defense office of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, reported on Sunday that 39 people died and 68 more are missing as a result of the deadly flood caused by heavy rainfall.

After floods in July, September, and November of 2023 that claimed 75 lives overall, this calamity became the fourth environmental disaster to strike the area in a single year.

The Brazilian Geological Service reported that the damage caused to the whole state surpasses that of a historic downpour in 1941, indicating that the extent of the floods is beyond historical records.

Water levels hit their greatest heights in a few places in over 150 years of recorded history.

Record-breaking floods devastate southern Brazil, leaving dozens dead and missing

A hydroelectric facility halfway between Bento Goncalves and Cotipora experienced a partial dam collapse on Thursday, which made the situation worse.

Rising floods engulfed entire communities like Lajeado and Estrela in the Taquari River valley. A vital bridge that connected the village of Feliz with the nearby city of Linha Nova was washed away by a swelling river. Feliz is around 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Porto Alegre, the state capital.

Numerous people now lack access to basic utilities including water, power, and communication due to the floods aftermath. As per the civil defense organization, more than twenty-four thousand people have been forced to leave their houses.

Residents who are stranded have difficulty getting in touch with family members who are outside the impacted area since they do not have access to electricity, the internet, or a phone.

Rescue operations were in full swing, with helicopters constantly circling the flooded cities and people stuck on roofs waiting for help. Lajeado resident Isolete Neumann resembled the scene to “a horror movie.” Some people, she said, went to extreme lengths, even trying to swim the fast currents themselves.

The National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters’ chief meteorologist, Marcelo Seluchi, predicts that the unrelenting deluge, which started on Monday, will last until at least Saturday.

On Thursday night, Governor Eduardo Leite gave a speech in which he emphasized the severe situation, emphasized how things are becoming worse, and urged the people to stay alert. In a Brasilia press conference, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva highlighted the exceptional magnitude of the calamity and offered solidarity with the flood victims.

A portion of the extreme weather occurrences in Brazil have been ascribed to El Niño, a climatic phenomena that often sends heavy rainfall to the southern area. Scientists alert us to the fact that human-caused climate change is making these catastrophic weather events more often.

The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul’s Karina Lima, a climatology specialist, emphasized the region’s susceptibility to El Niño’s magnified impacts and the pressing need for preventative actions to lessen future tragedies.

Source: AP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:56 PM