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Death toll mounts to 75 in Brazil floods, over 100 missing

First Published: 6th May, 2024 11:10 IST

Rescue operations are underway as emergency responders race against time to locate survivors trapped amidst the debris of collapsed homes, bridges, and roads.

The death toll has risen to 75 in Brazil floods, as the calamity continues to wreak havoc in the country’s southern Rio Grande do Sul state, Al Jazeera reported.

Another 103 people are reportedly missing, the local authorities have said.

More than 88,000 people were displaced from their homes as a result of the rains, according to state civil defence authorities on Sunday. Approximately 16,000 people sought refuge in schools, gyms, and other temporary shelters.

Meanwhile, state Governor Eduardo Leite said on Sunday morning, “I repeat and insist: the devastation to which we are being subjected is unprecedented.”

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also visited Rio Grande do Sul for a second time on Sunday, accompanied by Defence Minister Jose Mucio, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad and Environment Minister Marina Silva, among others, according to Al Jazeera.

The leader and his team surveyed the flooded streets of the state capital, Porto Alegre, from a helicopter.

Rescue operations are underway as emergency responders race against time to locate survivors trapped amidst the debris of collapsed homes, bridges, and roads.

The surge in water levels in the state of Rio Grande do Sul is straining dams and threatening the metropolis of Porto Alegre, the country’s civil defence agency said, according to Al Jazeera.

Governor Eduardo Leite declared a state of emergency as the region grapples with the aftermath of the catastrophic weather event.

“We are dealing with the worst disaster in [our] history,” Governor Leite lamented, acknowledging the grim reality that the death toll is expected to rise further as rescue efforts continue.

Forecasters have issued warnings of further peril, as the state’s main Guaiba river is anticipated to reach alarming levels, exacerbating the existing crisis. Entire communities have been cut off, with infrastructure severely compromised by the relentless downpour.

The dire situation has prompted authorities to urge residents to evacuate from high-risk areas near rivers and hillsides susceptible to mudslides. Access to basic amenities such as drinking water has been disrupted, leaving hundreds of thousands without essential services. (ANI)

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