“Four more deaths” have been confirmed, said Rio Grande do Sul state governor Eduardo Leite on Wednesday. It is the deadliest storm in state history.
In the most affected town of Mucum alone, 15 bodies were found on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the balance was initially 27 dead, until four more fatalities were confirmed. With more torrential rain expected in the coming days, the number of victims could continue to rise, according to authorities.
The hurricane triggered heavy rain in southern Brazil on Tuesday, which led to flooding and landslides. More than 52,000 people in 70 locations, some of which were remote and difficult to access, were affected by the effects of the storm. More than 5,300 residents had to leave their homes. Hundreds of rescue workers, police officers and volunteers worked to reach people in areas cut off by the floods.
Many towns were literally flooded by the water masses. In some places, the water has risen so much that “many people are looking for refuge on the roofs of their houses,” said Governor Leites, who declared a state of emergency for the region.
The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that helicopters would be deployed to support rescue operations. The federal government stands by the people of Rio Grande do Sul “to get through this crisis,” wrote Lula on the online service X (formerly Twitter).
race against time
In view of the weather forecast, a race against time begins for the emergency services to save the people with boats or helicopters, said Leite. The governor warned that the soil was soft and the river beds were already full. A cyclone had already raged in Rio Grande do Sul in June. 16 people died at the time.
In recent years, Brazil has repeatedly been hit by weather catastrophes, which experts believe are being exacerbated by climate change. In February, at least 65 people died in the southeastern state of São Paulo after torrential rain caused floods and landslides.