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Southern Brazil hits by the worst floods in more than 80 years

4 May 2024 20:09 (UTC+04:00)
Southern Brazil hits by the worst floods in more than 80 years

Heavy rains in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul killed 39 people, with another 68 still missing, the state civil defense agency said Friday, as record-breaking floods devastated cities and forced thousands to leave their homes, Azernews reports, citing the AP.

It was the fourth such environmental disaster in a year, following floods in July, September and November 2023 that killed 75 people in total.

The flooding statewide has surpassed that seen during a historic 1941 deluge, according to the Brazilian Geological Service. In some cities, water levels were at their highest since records began nearly 150 years ago, the agency said.

On Thursday, a dam at a hydroelectric plant between the cities of Bento Goncalves and Cotipora partially collapsed and entire cities in the Taquari River valley, like Lajeado and Estrela, were completely overtaken by water. In the town of Feliz, 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the state capital, Porto Alegre, a massively swollen river swept away a bridge that connected it with the neighboring city of Linha Nova.

Operators reported electricity, communications and water cuts across the state. More than 24,000 people had to leave their homes, according to the civil defense agency.

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.


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