In Brazil, flood toll rises to 20 dead, 63,000 displaced

Floods caused by heavy rains in the state of Bahia (northeastern Brazil) have killed two more people, bringing the number of deaths since early November in the region to 20, with nearly 63,000 people displaced, according to reports. local authorities Monday, December 27.

« We are living through the greatest disaster in the history of Bahia »Bahia Governor Rui Costa, who since Saturday has been overseeing a joint operation in the affected areas with the federal government and other states, said.

Two new deaths were recorded in the town of Itabuna. A 21-year-old man was swept away by the current and a 33-year-old woman was killed in a landslide, according to the latest local government report on Monday afternoon.

« The water is starting to decline at the source of the Cachoeira river and, although slowly, it is expected to improve in the days to come », said Governor Costa.

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Streets transformed into rivers

Houses were under water and streets turned into rivers in several municipalities in the south of the state, affected since Thursday by heavy rainfall that caused dams to burst and rivers overflowed over the weekend. In Itapetinga, aerial images from Agence France-Presse show three men paddling face down on a straw mattress in a street, surrounded by houses with water reaching up to the windows.

The number of displaced people has almost doubled since Sunday with nearly 62,800 people having to leave their homes according to the Civil Protection of Bahia (Sudec). In addition, 358 people have been injured since the onset of heavy rains in November. In total, it is estimated that 116 municipalities, including at least 100 in emergency situations, and more than 471,000 people are affected by these rains.

« There is a correlation » between the intensity of the rains in the northeast of the country and the La Niña phenomenon, which causes above-normal precipitation, estimated Estael Sias, metSul meteorologist.

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The equivalent of a month of water fell in some municipalities, notably in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, which on Friday received up to five times the historical average of 58 mm for the month of December, according to the city’s civil defense.

The World with AFP

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