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Floods in Brazil: already 100 dead, rain suspends evacuations

The death toll from unprecedented floods in southern Brazil reached the milestone of 100 deaths on Wednesday, while relief operations in the capital continued. regional Porto Alegre were disappointed & be interrupted à cause of further rains.

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, a rich agricultural region hit throughout the last week by torrential rains, the emergency is still for help while scenes of desolation follow one another: housing flooded, impassable roads and cars submerged in gigantic mud.

It is also time to take stock of the human toll, still provisional given the chaos on site: 100 dead, 128 missing, 372 injured, according to Civil Defense.

Porto Alegre , regional capital of some 1.4 million inhabitants, and more than 400 localities were hit by these exceptionally violent bad weather, driving more than 160,000 people from their homes.

< p>The Guaiba River, which experienced a historic flood of up to 5.30 meters, fell to 5.14 meters on Wednesday, but the situation remains very difficult.

Volunteers went out in the morning on small boats or jetskis to navigate the flooded streets and evacuate residents still trapped by the waters, but also those who were reluctant to leave their homes for fear of burglaries.

But the sky darkened, the wind blew and the rain began to fall again, cutting short the rescues.

Near the flooded football stadium of the local team Grêmio, where a disembarkation zone for the evacuees has been improvised since the weekend, the volunteers had to store their boats, noted AFP journalists.

On the social network She also mentioned “winds exceeding 80 km/h in the coming hours”.

The authorities also appealed to the victims not to try to return at home, the homes being weakened by the rising waters.

In addition, “contaminated water can transmit diseases”, warned Sabrina Ribas, door -speak for Civil Defense.

– Dams in danger –

About ten days after the start of the rains, the smell is nauseating in Porto Alegre because of the volumes of stagnant water, which sometimes resemble open dumps.

Rain is also expected in the metropolitan area from Friday to Sunday, accompanied by a drop in temperatures.

And in the south of the state, flooding are expected to reach “serious proportions” in the coming days due to the “colossal” volume of water falling into the Guaiba and other rivers, warned the specialist site MetSul Meteorologia.

< p>The state government has activated the emergency level for five dams, two of which are at “risk of imminent failure”.

After the closure of the flooded Porto Alegre airport, the Canoas military base located on the outskirts will welcome commercial flights for the transport of aid and passengers wanting to reach Rio Grande do Sul, the army announced air.

At the same time, initial assessments of material damage are established.

Floods in Brazil: already 100 dead, rain suspends evacuations

A flooded area of ​​the historic center of Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on May 8, 2024 in Brazil © AFP – Anselmo CUNHA

Nearly 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and the economic damage reached 4.6 billion reais (around 842 million euros), according to the National Confederation of Municipalities.

Brazil is not the only country in the region to bear the brunt of extreme weather events.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a UN agency, said on Wednesday that the El Niño phenomenon and human-caused climate change have caused a record number of environmental disasters in Latin America in 2023.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116