Over 75 People Killed in Brazilian Flooding, Death Toll Rises

The massive floods in southern Brazil last week had claimed the lives of at least 75 people by last Sunday while another 103 people remained missing.

According to local authorities l, around 155 people have been injured and more than 88,000 have been forced from their homes due to damage from flooding and heavy rains in the southern state of Rio Grande do Su.

Roughly 16,000 have been housed in temporary shelters in schools, gymnasiums, and other facilities as flooding caused washed-out roads, collapsed bridges, and landslides. Over 800,000 people in the region were without water and operators reported cuts in electricity and communication lines as authorities called in the Brazilian Air Force to help rescue stranded people.

Watered flooded over a dam in the municipality of Bento Gonçalves as the water level in the Guaiba River reached 5.33 meters by Sunday morning, surpassing the previous record of 4.76 meters in 1941.

Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite told reporters on Sunday morning that the devastation in the area was “unprecedented.” Leite previously said the southern state would require something similar to the “Marshall Plan” to rebuild the region.

On Sunday, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited the flood-ravaged state with ministers from his government, including Finance Minister Fernando Haddad, Defense Minister José Múcio, and Environment Minister Marina Silva. The president and his ministers boarded a helicopter to survey the flooding in Porto Alegre.

Following the inspection of the flood damage, President Lula told reporters that the country needed “to stop running behind disasters” and must “see in advance what calamities might happen” and take action.

The rains, which began on April 29, were expected to continue through the weekend. Some areas of Rio Grande do Sul, including valleys, cities, and mountain slopes, experienced over 11.8 inches of rainfall in less than a week, according to the country’s National Institute of Meteorology.