“Over 78 Dead, 100+ Missing Following Floods in Brazil”

In the past week, severe flooding in Rio Grande do Sul, a southern state in Brazil, has resulted in at least 78 deaths with another 103 people reported missing, according to local officials.

The heavy rainfall has displaced over 88,000 residents, with about 16,000 seeking shelter in schools, gymnasiums, and other temporary facilities, state civil defense authorities confirmed on Sunday. The floods have caused extensive destruction, including landslides, road washouts, and bridge collapses throughout the region. Power outages and communication disruptions are widespread, with more than 800,000 individuals currently without water, based on information from the water company Corsan provided by the civil defense.

“The level of devastation we are facing is unparalleled,” Governor Eduardo Leite stated on Sunday morning. He previously mentioned the necessity for extensive reconstruction efforts, likening it to a ‘Marshall Plan’ for the state.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, along with Defence Minister Jose Mucio, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad, and Environment Minister Marina Silva, visited Rio Grande do Sul for the second time on Sunday. They surveyed the flood-impacted areas of Porto Alegre, the state capital, from a helicopter.

After the visit, President Lula expressed the urgent need for proactive disaster management. “We need to anticipate disasters and prepare accordingly,” he told the media.

On Sunday, the Guaiba River reached an unprecedented height of 5.33 meters (17.5 feet), surpassing the record set during the historic 1941 flood, when it rose to 4.76 meters (15.6 feet).

Pope Francis, during Sunday mass at the Vatican, offered prayers for the victims and those displaced by the floods in Rio Grande do Sul.

The region experienced over 300mm (11.8 inches) of rain in some areas this week, as reported by Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology (INMET) on Thursday. This marks the fourth major flooding event in the state within a year, with previous floods in July, September, and November 2023 killing 75 people.

South America’s weather, influenced by the El Nino climate phenomenon, has led to droughts in the north and intense rainfall in the south of Brazil. The current year has seen dramatic effects from El Nino, including a historic drought in the Amazon. Scientists attribute the increase in extreme weather events to climate change, warning of more frequent and severe disasters.

Suely Araujo from the Climate Observatory emphasized the need for Brazil to adapt to these changes, stating on Friday that “tragedies like these will continue to happen with increasing severity and frequency.”

Lucas Falcão

International Politics and Sports Specialist, Chief Editor of Walerts with extensive experience in breaking news.

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