Man narrowly avoids death after bridge collapses in Brazil due to major flooding

“Forget everything you have seen, it is going to get much worse in the metropolitan region,” Governor Eduardo Leite said on Friday as the streets of the capital, with a population of about 1.5 million, began to flood after days of heavy rainfall in the capital. region.

The state’s civil protection department said at least 265 municipalities have suffered storm damage in Rio Grande do Sul since Monday, injuring 74 people and displacing more than 24,000 – a third of whom have been taken to shelters.

According to the latest data, at least 68 people are missing and more than 350,000 people have suffered some form of material damage.

And there was no end in sight, with officials reporting an “emergency situation involving a risk of collapse” at four dams in the state.

The level of the state’s main Guiaba river, meanwhile, has risen an estimated 4.2 to 4.6 meters, but could not be measured because the gauges have been washed away, the mayor of Porto Alegre said.

As it continued to rise, officials rushed to strengthen flood protection.

Porto Alegre’s worst recorded flood occurred in 1941 when the river reached a level of 4.71 meters.

Elsewhere in the state, several cities and towns have been completely cut off from the world in what Governor Leite described as “the worst disaster in the history” of Rio Grande do Sul.

Many communities do not have access to drinking water, telephone or internet services.

Tens of thousands have no electricity.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the region on Thursday and vowed there will be “no shortage of human or material resources” in the response to the disaster, which he blamed on climate change.

The central government has sent planes, boats and more than 600 soldiers to help clear roads, distribute food, water and mattresses and set up shelters.

School classes have been suspended across the country.

“I feel sorry for everyone who lives here… I feel pain in my heart,” Maria Luiza, a 51-year-old resident of Sao Sebastiao do Caí, some 65 kilometers from Porto Alegre, told AFP.

In Capela de Santana, north of the capital, Raul Metzel explained that his neighbors had to leave their livestock behind.