The death toll from rain in southern Brazil rises to 56

The death toll from rain in southern Brazil rises to 56

People react after being rescued from flooding in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, May 4, 2024. REUTERS/Renan Mattos

The death toll from rain in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul has risen to 56, local authorities said Saturday morning, with dozens still unaccounted for.

Rio Grande do Sul’s Civil Protection Authority said 67 people were still missing and nearly 25,000 had been displaced as storms hit more than half of the 497 towns in the state, which borders Uruguay and Argentina.

Floods destroyed roads and bridges in several regions of the state. The storm also caused landslides and the partial collapse of a dam at a small hydroelectric power station. A second dam in the town of Bento Goncalves is also at risk of collapse, authorities said.

In Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the Guaiba River burst its banks, flooding streets.

Porto Alegre International Airport has suspended all flights indefinitely.

State Governor Eduardo Leite told reporters on Friday evening that the death toll could still rise.

More rains could hit the state’s northern regions on Saturday, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology. Authorities urged people living in high-risk areas to seek shelter elsewhere.