Thursday, June 20, 2024
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. World
  4. Brazil's southern state hit by worst rainfall in over 80 years; 39 killed so far, 68 missing | VIDEO

Brazil's southern state hit by worst rainfall in over 80 years; 39 killed so far, 68 missing | VIDEO

The floods in Rio Grande Do Sul have surpassed the levels seen during a historic 1941, with water levels reaching an unprecedented high. At least 24,000 people have been displaced as the storms affected over half of the 497 cities in the state, while dams have reached their stretching point.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Brasilia (Brazil) Updated on: May 04, 2024 14:24 IST
Brazil rains, floods
Image Source : REUTERS Entire cities were overrun with water in Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul.

Brasilia: Heavy rains have battered Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, with at least 39 people killed so far and the death count is expected to rise as 68 people remain unaccounted for, according to local authorities on Friday. Rio Grande do Sul's civil defence authority said at least 24,000 had been displaced as the storms affected more than half of the 497 cities in the state, which borders Uruguay and Argentina.

In several towns, streets essentially turned into rivers, with roads and bridges destroyed. The storm also triggered landslides and the partial collapse of a dam structure at a small hydroelectric power plant, completely flooding some cities. A second dam in the city of Bento Goncalves is also at risk of collapsing, authorities said, ordering people who live nearby to evacuate.

According to the Brazilian Geological Service, the statewide flooding has surpassed that seen during a historic 1941 deluge. In some cities, water levels were at their highest since records began nearly 150 years ago, the agency said. The downpour started Monday and is expected to last at least through Saturday, Marcelo Seluchi, chief meteorologist at the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters, said on Friday.

Watch the video:

On Thursday night, Gov. Eduardo Leite alerted the state’s population — known as gauchos — about the persistence of rains and floods. Without internet, telephone service or electricity, residents struggled to provide updates or information to their relatives living in other states. Helicopters flew continually over the cities while stranded families with children awaited rescue on the rooftops.

In Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the Guaiba River broke its banks, and flooded streets blocked access to the city's historic central neighbourhoods. The state is at a geographical meeting point between tropical and polar atmospheres, which has created a weather pattern with periods of intense rains and others of drought. Local scientists believe the pattern has been intensifying due to climate change.

“People were making barricades in front of hospitals with sand and gravel. It felt like a horror movie," said Isolete Neumann, 58, who lives in the city of Lajeado in the Taquari River valley. She said she’s collecting rainwater in a basin to be able to cook and a clothing store she owns in the city’s central area is flooded.

India Tv - Brazil floods, heavy rains

Image Source : REUTERSRoads and streets covered in floods as heavy rains battered Brazil's southern state.

Meanwhile, Brazil President Lula da Silva travelled to the state on Thursday to visit affected locations and discuss rescue efforts with the governor. Lula vowed on Friday, speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that his government would support local rescue and reconstruction efforts.

“The first words from Minister Fumio Kishida in the meeting we held were of solidarity with the people of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, who are victims by one of the largest floods we have ever known. Never before in the history of Brazil had there been such a quantity of rain in one single location,” Lula said.

Heavy rains kill 14 in Indonesia

Weather across South America is affected by the climate phenomenon El Niño, a periodic, naturally occurring event that warms surface waters in the Equatorial Pacific region. In Brazil, El Niño has historically caused droughts in the north and intense rainfall in the south. This year, the impacts of El Niño have been particularly dramatic, with a historic drought in the Amazon.

At least 39 people died and after a cyclone battered Rio Grande do Sul in September last year, flooding homes and swelling rivers. According to the Rio Grande do Sul government, heavy rains caused by the extratropical cyclone have affected 80 cities and left more than 2,300 people homeless and over 3,900 displaced.

In a separate incident, at least 14 people were killed when a flood and a landslide hit Indonesia's Sulawesi island, said officials on Saturday. Torrential rain pounding the area since Thursday triggered a landslide in Luwu district in South Sulawesi province, said local rescue chief Mexianus Bekabel.

A search and rescue team worked to evacuate residents using rubber boats and other vehicles. More than 100 residents have been moved to mosques or relatives' houses outside the affected area, National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said Saturday.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Heavy rain and thunderstorms batter UAE: Several flights cancelled, alerts issued | VIDEO


Read all the Breaking News Live on and Get Latest English News & Updates from World