Brazil floods: At least 31 people have been killed as heavy rains and floods continue to wreak havoc in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul, according to state governor Eduardo Leite on Wednesday. The most recent of a string of extreme weather events, a hurricane that struck Brazil on Tuesday (September 6), emphasises the risks posed by storms that are becoming more common and intense as a result of climate change.
Leite visited the disaster-affected area on Wednesday and pledged that no effort would be spared to rebuild the homes and infrastructure that have been destroyed by the floods. This comes as the storm that struck Brazil will continue to impact the region for the rest of this week, CNN reported.
Leite also said that over 60 cities have been heavily impacted by the storm, one of Rio Grande do Sul's deadliest, and at least 2,300 people have been rendered homeless. Another 3,000 citizens had to temporarily evacuate their houses.
Fourth extreme weather in last three years
The heavy rains caused by the storm are the fourth extreme weather event in Rio Grande do Sul in the last three months, according to Leite. The Ministry of Social Development (MDS) said at least 50 municipalities in the two southern states have been affected, with approximately 80% of the city of Mucum in Rio Grande do Sul underwater.
At least 15 bodies were found in a single house in Mucum as residents discovered a trail of destruction caused by the storm along the river with most buildings swept away down to the ground level. The city had advised its residents on Tuesday to seek out supplies for the next 72 hours.
As per media reports, many of the victims died due to electric shocks or were trapped in vehicles. One of the victims died after being swept away during a rescue attempt.
More rains were expected to hit the state's center-south region, while possibly sparing worst-hit areas. Authorities maintained three flooding alerts on Wednesday — for the Jacui, Cai and Taquari rivers.
This comes after Rio Grande do Sul was hit by a cyclone in June, killing 16 people and causing destruction in 40 cities.
What did Brazilian President say?
Earlier, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a social media post, “I would like to express my solidarity with the population of Rio Grande do Sul, which is experiencing the heavy rains that have already caused the death of at least four people.” “The head of civil defence goes to the state to help remedy the problems caused by heavy rains. We will do everything to help the Gaucha population through this moment,” the post added.
Floods in other countries
Meanwhile, at least 12 people have been killed in flash floods in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria following torrential rainstorms that swept away bridges and buildings, reported the Guardian. The overnight storm flooded streets and stations and swept away cars and city market stalls in Turkey.
Over 1,750 homes and businesses were affected in Istanbul, according to the governor's office. Additionally, Greek climate crisis and civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias called the current situation "the most extreme phenomenon" in terms of maximum amount of rain in a 24-hour period.
The flooding in Greece follows a string of ferocious wildfires this summer that claimed over 20 lives. Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the wildfires and storms on the climate crisis.
(with input from agencies)