Floods in Brazil: the death toll rises to 100, almost a billion euros in damage

The toll continues to climb. Unprecedented floods in southern Brazil have killed at least 100 people, according to authorities, who on Wednesday begged residents not to try to return to areas still at risk.

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, which is always provisional given the chaos on site. 100 dead, 128 missing, 372 injured, according to the latest report published Wednesday by Civil Defense.

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 damages (around 842 million euros), according to the National Confederation of Municipalities.

Brazilian army soldiers patrol Porto Alergre. AFP / Nelson Almeida AFP or licensors

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. 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.

A historic flood

The Guaiba River, which crosses Porto Alegre and experienced a historic flood of up to 5.30 m, fell to 5.14 m 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, said from his van parked a few meters from the water. “I have a workshop on the other side and it’s flooded,” he sighs.

The town of Porte Alegre was still underwater on Wednesday. AFP / Anselmo Cunha AFP or licensors

The National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) forecasts bad weather representing “great danger” in the south of the state until Wednesday, with intense rain 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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