Floods in Brazil | The death toll rises to 100

(Porto Alegre) The death toll from unprecedented floods in southern Brazil reached 100 deaths on Wednesday, as authorities begged residents not to try to return to areas still at risk.


Published at 11:44 a.m.

Updated at 12:25 p.m.

Mauricio RABUFFETTI

France Media Agency

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, hit throughout the last week by torrential rains, there is still an urgent need for help as scenes of desolation follow one another: flooded homes, impassable roads and cars submerged in mud. gigantic.

The time has also come to take stock of the human toll, still provisional given the chaos on site: 100 dead, 128 missing, 372 injured, according to the latest assessment published Wednesday by Civil Defense.

While more than 160,000 people had to leave their homes, authorities appealed to affected residents not to try to return home, as homes were weakened by rising waters.

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PHOTO ANSELMO CUNHA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A volunteer uses a boat to rescue an elderly couple, Roberto Rossi, 88, and Carmelina Castro, 79, from a flooded area.

In addition, “contaminated water can transmit diseases,” Sabrina Ribas, spokesperson for Civil Defense, warned to the press.

More than 400 localities, including the regional capital Porto Alegre, were hit by these exceptionally violent bad weather, which experts link to global warming and the El Niño phenomenon.

Economic damage

At the same time, initial assessments of the extent of material damage are being established.

Nearly 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and the economic damage reached 4.6 billion reais (approximately 1.24 billion Canadian dollars), according to the National Confederation of Municipalities.

The Guaiba River, which crosses Porto Alegre and experienced a historic flood of up to 5.30 meters, fell to 5.14 meters on Wednesday, but the situation remains very complex.

In the Gasomètre sector, a tourist site in the west of the city, the waters continued to rise and rescuers struggled to cross the flooded streets.

“You can only pass by walking or by boat. There is no other way,” Luan Pas, 30, told AFP from his van parked a few meters from the water. “I have a workshop on the other side and it’s flooded,” he sighs.

Operations at the port of Porto Alegre suspended, airport still closed for an indefinite period: the city, modern capital of a rich agricultural state, is paralyzed.

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PHOTO ANSELMO CUNHA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

To Porto Alegre

New rains

And the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) forecasts bad weather representing “great danger” in the south of the state until Wednesday, with intense rains and wind in this hitherto rather preserved area.

Rain is also expected in the Porto Alegre region from Friday to Sunday, accompanied by a drop in temperatures.

Brazil is not the only country in the region to bear the brunt of extreme weather events.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a UN agency, said on Wednesday that the El Niño phenomenon and man-made climate change will cause a record number of environmental disasters in Latin America in 2023.

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