The death toll from bad weather in southern Brazil now exceeds 50 deaths.

Brésil dépasse désormais les 50 morts : Flooding caused by intense rains in southern Brazil has

unfortunately led to the loss of at least 56 lives, with 67 people missing, according to a new report from Brazilian Civil Defense this Saturday. Roads have been submerged by water and communications are disrupted in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where the capital Porto Alegre is hard hit.

The human toll continues to rise several days after torrential rains in southern Brazil. Floods caused by heavy rainfall have already claimed the lives of at least 56 people, while 67 others remain missing, according to a latest report from Brazilian civil defense released this Saturday, May 4.

Roads are cut by the floods and communications are disrupted in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where the capital, Porto Alegre, is seriously affected. The authorities ordered the evacuation of certain neighborhoods in the face of rising waters.

According to the governor, the state of Rio Grande do Sul is currently experiencing the “worst climate disaster in its history.” At least four dams are in an emergency situation, presenting a risk of rupture, local authorities have alerted.

In Capela de Santana, north of Porto Alegre, Raul Metzel testifies that his neighbors were forced to abandon their livestock. “They don’t know if the water will continue to rise or what will happen to the animals, they could drown soon,” he explains.

Despite the disaster, some heartwarming scenes emerge, such as the rescue of four pregnant women in the town of Agudo, evacuated by helicopter to a hospital.

More than 250 localities have been affected for several days by storms and destructive thunderstorms. The latest count from the authorities shows around 351,000 victims, and in total, 23,600 people had to leave their homes.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the region on Thursday, promising that the federal government would provide “24 hours a day” support to the people of Rio Grande do Sul. He assured that everything within the reach of his government would be done to meet the needs of those affected by the bad weather.

Rescuers face a daunting task, with entire towns virtually isolated, made inaccessible by flooding.

Residential areas are submerged as far as the eye can see, roads are destroyed and bridges swept away by the current. In addition, dam failures risk further aggravating the situation. The human and material damage is considerable, mainly concentrated in the central region of this state bordering Argentina and Uruguay.

Maria Luiza, 51, resident of Sao Sebastiao do Cai, one of the areas most affected by the floods, expresses her grief: “Here is my home and I feel a lot of pain, it hurts my heart “, she confided to AFP.

Governor Eduardo Leite warned that the disaster in Porto Alegre, a city of around 1.5 million people, would be “unprecedented”. On Friday, the historic center of the city was also flooded due to the exceptional flood of the Guaiba, an emblematic river of southern Brazil. The authorities estimate that the level of Guaiba could reach 5 meters in the coming hours. The historical record, dating from 1941, is 4.71 meters. Numerous videos shared on social networks demonstrate the rising waters of this river.

The federal government has committed to dispatching helicopters, boats and more than 600 soldiers to intensify relief operations and food distribution.

Extreme weather events are exacerbated by global warming.

The weather forecast is alarming, with rains of “extreme severity” expected until Sunday, according to Civil Defense, which also warned of the risk of overflowing another river, the Uruguay River. .

Hundreds of thousands of people find themselves without electricity. Water supply is also compromised in many localities, as is access to the internet and mobile phone signal.

To the north of Rio Grande do Sul, the neighboring state of Santa Catarina is now also affected by the rains.

Rio Grande do Sul has already been hit hard several times by deadly bad weather, notably last September, when a devastating cyclone caused the death of 31 people.

According to experts, these extreme weather phenomena have increased in frequency and intensity due to global warming.

Brazil experienced a historic drought in 2023 in the north of the country, and the number of wildfires reached a record high from January to April, with more than 17,000 outbreaks recorded across the country, including more than half in the Amazon.

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