World News

Brazil floods: Dam collapses and death toll rises in Rio Grande do Sul

  • By Leonardo Rocha and Jaroslav Lukiv
  • BBC News

Legend, The municipality of Encantado has turned into a river as residents desperately try to move to higher ground.

A hydroelectric dam collapsed in southern Brazil after days of heavy rain caused massive flooding, killing more than 30 people.

Authorities say another 60 people are missing in Rio Grande do Sul state.

Around 15,000 residents have fled their homes since Saturday. At least 500,000 people are without electricity and drinking water across the state.

The rupture of the dam triggered a two-meter wave, causing panic and further damage to already flooded areas.

The dam is located between the municipality of Cotiporã and the town of Bento Gonçalves.

These extreme weather conditions were caused by a rare combination of warmer-than-average temperatures, high humidity and strong winds.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited the region and promised help from the central government.

Earlier, state governor Eduardo Leite pleaded for urgent aid, saying “we have to rescue hundreds of people in dozens of municipalities.”

Helicopters were deployed to search for the stranded people.

In some areas, flooding is so severe that helicopters have been unable to land and have had to lift residents to safety.

In the municipality of Candelária, residents climbed onto the roofs of their houses as they filled with water.

Meteorologists predict more rain will fall in the region as a cold front passes through.

Last year, more than 30 people were killed in a cyclone in Rio Grande do Sul.

Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology attributed the increased intensity and frequency of precipitation to the El Niño climate phenomenon.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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