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Floods in Brazil: new increase in river flow in the devastated South

The torrential rains which fell on the south of Brazil increased the flow of the rivers on Sunday, raising fears of further damage in a rapid response. region already has devastated by unprecedented floods which left 145 dead.

“The situation is critical,” Antonio Vanzan, a 50-year-old resident of the town of Sao Leopoldo, a suburb of Porto Alegre, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul devastated by the floods, told AFP.

“If the rain doesn't stop, what will happen ? It could raise the river level and increase the water in the neighborhoods”, he worries.

Not far away, in a flooded street, Claudio da Silva advances with oars in a small boat after having noticed the damage in his neighborhood. “My house is destroyed. In the neighboring house, that of my brother-in-law, the water reached half of the first floor,” says this 36-year-old electrician. “It's chaos. There are a lot of dead animals. It's very sad.”

Heavy downpours at the beginning of the month in the region caused rivers to overflow, affecting more than two million people and leaving 145 dead and 806 injured, according to the latest report from Civil Defense on Sunday.

Some 132 people are still missing, while more than 619,000 have been forced to abandon their homes due to this disaster, associated with climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, according to the same source.

– “The situation is going to get worse” –

Floods in Brazil: new increase in river flow in the devastated South

People walk on bags filled with stones and sand in the historic center of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 12, 2024 © AFP – Anselmo CUNHA

The Guaiba, a body of water that borders the regional capital Porto Alegre — considered as much as a river, a lake or an estuary — reached its lowest level since May 3 on Saturday (4.57 m).

The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, however, indicated that the water in the Guaiba could rise to 5.5 meters between Monday and Tuesday.

On May 5 and 6, the Guaiba reached the record level of 5.3 meters. The first overflows occur from three meters.

Other rivers in the region are also experiencing water levels higher than in recent days and continue to overflow.

The flooding of the Taquari River has notably put people on alert the small town of Mucum, barely recovered from a devastating cyclone last September.

The town of Pelotas, south of Porto Alegre, “is facing a worsening situation” which “increases the probability of flooding”, warned its mayor Paula Mascarenhas on Instagram, calling for the evacuation of risk areas.

Floods in Brazil: new increase in river flow in the devastated South

People use a boat to cross a flooded street in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 12, 2024. © AFP – Anselmo CUNHA

The regional capital of 1.4 million inhabitants, still partly under water and where rescue operations continue, was also affected by downpours on Sunday, journalists from the AFP.

“The situation will continue to get worse,” wrote the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, on the social network

In the northeast of the state, there is a “high risk of major flooding and river overflows, as well as significant landslides” , according to the National Institute of Meteorology.

The probability of further flooding is “very high” in most regions of the State, estimated for its part the National Center for Monitoring and Warning of Natural Disasters (Cemaden).

In a video on Sunday on X, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced his “solidarity” towards the victims. “You are not alone,” he assured.

The Brazilian government has promised to release some nine billion euros for the reconstruction of this important agricultural state.

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