June 23, 2024

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

Brazil floods: Dam collapses and death toll rises in Rio Grande do Sul
  • Written by Leonardo Rocha and Jaroslav Lukiev
  • BBC News

Comment on the photo, The municipality of Encantado turned into a river, with residents desperately trying to move to higher ground

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

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

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

The burst dam caused a 2-metre (6.6 ft) wave, causing panic and further damage in already flooded areas.

The dam is located between the municipality of Cutipora and the city of Pinto Gonçalves.

The extreme weather has been caused by a rare combination of hotter-than-average temperatures, high humidity and strong winds.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the region and promised assistance from the central government.

Earlier, state governor Eduardo Leite requested urgent assistance, saying, “We need to rescue hundreds of people in dozens of municipalities.”

Helicopters were deployed to search for stranded people.

In some areas, the floods were so severe that helicopters were unable to land and had to evacuate residents to safety.

In the municipality of Candelaria, residents climbed onto their roofs after their homes were filled with water.

Meteorologists expected more rain to fall in the region as a cold front moved through.

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