Brazil: Deadly floods claim at least 39 lives: World: Latin Post

In the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, heavy rains have led to catastrophic flooding, killing 39 people while 68 others were reported missing, as confirmed by the state Civil Protection Agency on Friday.

This grim toll marks the fourth environmental disaster in a year, following the devastating floods in Brazil in July, September and November 2023, which together resulted in the loss of 75 lives.

The extent of the flooding is surpassing historical records, with water levels in some areas reaching their highest point in nearly 150 years, Brazil’s Geological Survey said, AP News reported.

The situation escalated on Thursday when a dam at a hydroelectric power station between the towns of Bento Goncalves and Coti Pora partially collapsed.

This event caused a deluge that engulfed entire towns in the Taquari River valley, such as Lajeado and Estrela.

Furthermore, the city of Feliz witnessed a swollen river that swept away a vital bridge connecting the city to Linha Nova, the neighboring city.

READ NEXT: Lula Tours flood-hit Brazilian state as death toll reaches 29

The humanitarian crisis is unfolding

With infrastructure severely compromised, operators reported widespread disruptions to electricity, communications and water supplies across the state.

More than 24,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes, leaving them without essential services.

The lack of internet, telephone connections and electricity compounded the problems, leaving residents unable to communicate with relatives in other regions.

Helicopters scoured the flooded towns for stranded families, many of whom took refuge on rooftops awaiting rescue, The Independent reported.

The emergency is deepening

Governor Eduardo Leite issued warnings to the state’s population, known as gauchos, highlighting worsening weather conditions, Reuters noted.

The downpour, which started on Monday, is expected to continue at least until Saturday, said Marcelo Seluchi, chief meteorologist at the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters.

The extreme weather patterns gripping South America are attributed to the El Niño climate phenomenon, which historically causes intense rainfall in the southern region of Brazil.

This year, the effects of El Niño have been exacerbated as the Amazon faces a historic drought, underscoring the escalating impact of climate change.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the affected areas to assess the situation and pledge federal support for rescue and reconstruction efforts.

However, problems remain as another 60 people remain missing and around 15,000 residents have evacuated their homes since Saturday.

Essential services have been disrupted, leaving approximately 500,000 people without power and access to clean water.

The dam breaking caused a two-metre high wave, worsening the ongoing flooding and causing panic among residents.

Helicopters are being used for search and rescue missions, but in some areas the severity of Brazil’s flooding has made traditional rescue methods ineffective.

Meteorologists predict further rainfall as a cold front moves across the region, exacerbating existing problems.

Officials are emphasizing the urgency of immediate action, linking the increased rainfall frequency and intensity to the El Niño climate pattern, the BBC said.

The combination of warmer than average temperatures, high humidity and high winds has created a perfect storm, causing widespread destruction.

In light of this crisis, the Brazilian government, together with state and local authorities, has

Efforts should focus on coordinating actions to ensure the safety and well-being of affected communities.

As the region grapples with the aftermath of this disaster, the need for proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change becomes increasingly urgent.

READ MORE: Bogota implements new water measures during drought

This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Ross Key

WATCH: Floods in Brazil: Dam collapses and death toll rises in Rio Grande do Sul – From BBC News

© 2024 Latin Post. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.