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News Every Day |

Dozens of people dead and others missing after worst floods in almost a century hit Brazil

TOPSHOT - Grab from a handout video released by the Sao Paulo Civil Defense showing the flooded Taquari river bridge, which is part of the BR-396 highway that connects the cities of Lageado and Estrela, in the region of Vale do Taquari, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil on May 3, 2024. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday visited the country's south where floods and mudslides caused by torrential rains have killed 29 people, with the toll expected to rise. Authorities in Rio Grande do Sul have declared a state of emergency as rescuers continue to search for dozens of people reported missing among the ruins of collapsed homes, bridges and roads. (Photo by Handout / Sao Paulo Civil Defense / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
The flooded Taquari river bridge (Picture: Sao Paulo Civil Defense/AFP)

The worst flooding in almost a century has killed at least 39 people while another 68 are missing in southern Brazil.

Torrential rain in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has wreaked havoc, with at least 39 people confirmed dead and more missing.

More than 24,000 people were also forced to leave their homes as flood water hit cities, with major electricity, water and communications cuts across the state, AP reports citing the civil defense agency.

Rescue workers carry a woman after being rescued from the floods in Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, May 4, 2024. REUTERS/Renan Mattos
A woman was evacuated in Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, after the devastating floods (Picture: Renan Mattos/Reuters)
A drone view shows a flooded city center after people were evacuated in Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, May 4, 2024. REUTERS/Renan Mattos
People have died and others evacuated after flooding in southern Brazil (Picture: Renan Mattos/Reuters)
epa11317333 People navigate flood water by boat, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 03 May 2024. The water level of the Gua??ba rose to 4.5 meters this Friday morning, its highest elevation since 1941 (4.76 meters), and flooded numerous avenues in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul - border state with Argentina and Uruguay - where 1.3 million inhabitants live. EPA/Renan Mattos
People navigate flood water by boat, in Porto Alegre, Brazil (Picture: Renan Mattos/EPA)

It is the fourth environmental disaster in just a year after flooding in July, September and November last year that killed 75 people, the news agency said.

The meltdown of internet, phone and electricity connections made matters worse for residents who were struggling to contact loved ones in other parts of the country.

In apocalyptic scenes, choppers were seen flying non-stop over the engulfed cities while stranded families with children waited to be rescued on rooftops.

A dam at a hydroelectric plant between Bento Goncalves and Cotipora partially collapsed on Thursday, completely submerging cities in the Taquari River valley, including Lajeado and Estrela.

In the town of Feliz around 50 miles from the state capital, Porto Alegre, a swollen river swept away a bridge connecting it to a neighbouring city.

Brazil flooding
Residents were left without electricity, internet and water across southern Brazil (Picture: AP/AFP)
A drone view shows vehicles in the area affected by the floods, in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 3, 2024. REUTERS/Diego Vara
A drone view shows vehicles in the area engulfed by the floods, in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state (Picture: Diego Vara/Reuters)
Firefighters help residents evacuate from an area flooded by heavy rains in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Carlos Macedo)
Firefighters helped residents to evacuate (Picture: Carlos Macedo/AP)

Isolete Neumann, 58, from Lajeado, told the AP the unprecedented floods felt like a ‘horror movie.’

She said: ‘People were making barricades in front of hospitals with sand and gravel. It felt like a horror movie.’

Although her neighbourhood was not swamped, she had no running water and she had not showered since Tuesday, while she collected rainwater to be able to cook.

But her clothing store in the city centre is flooded.

She continued: ‘I don’t even know how it must be. There must be nothing left.’

The heavy rain started on Monday and it is expected to last through Saturday, Marcelo Seluchi, chief meteorologist at the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters, told Brazil’s public television network Friday.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in a press conference during the visit of Japan’s premier Fumio Kishida: ‘The first words from Minister Fumio Kishida in the meeting we held were of solidarity with the people of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, who are victims by one of the largest floods we have ever known. Never before in the history of Brazil had there been such a quantity of rain in one single location.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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