At least 13 people were murdered and hundreds of more were pushed from their homes by a storm that ripped across southern Brazil on Sunday, according to the authorities.
Damage was inflicted in dozens of municipalities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, including the state capital of Porto Alegre, by torrential rain and high winds on Thursday and Friday. This is the latest in a succession of weather-related tragedies to slam South America’s largest country.
The death toll from the storm has reached 13 with the discovery of two more dead in the coastal town of Caraa, one of the most struck, according to the state civil defense office. Caraa was one of the towns that was hit the hardest.
After a total of 20 people were first reported missing in Caraa on Saturday, the number was later reduced to only three on Sunday.
According to official estimates, windspeeds as high as 101.9 kilometers (60 miles) per hour were reported in the town of Tramandai when the storm hit.
According to local media, which showed images of a car being washed into a cemetery by severe winds, one of the victims is a four-month-old infant. The powerful gusts also caused the automobile to be pushed into the cemetery.
“The water in the home reached our waists while we were inside. We give thanks to God that the firefighters arrived so swiftly and helped us escape on boats. According to an unnamed woman from the hamlet of Sao Leopoldo who spoke with the newspaper Estadao, “It seemed like a nightmare.”
A helicopter was used to rescue some of the other victims.
On Sunday, there were around 84,000 individuals who did not have electricity and there were nearly 5,000 people whose homes were destroyed. About eighty persons had been removed by the authorities from potentially dangerous places as a precaution.
On Saturday, representatives from the government and rescue organizations accompanied Governor Eduardo Leite of Rio Grande do Sul as he flew by helicopter across the districts that were hit the hardest.
The governor paid a visit to a community facility in Caraa that was being utilized to house hundreds of people temporarily after the storm destroyed their homes.
“We are quite concerned about the situation in Caraa. According to a statement released by the governor, “it is essential that we can, in a quick and integrated manner, map the main affected areas and identify the people who need support.”
According to Leite, state firemen had rescued around 2,400 individuals over the course of the previous two days.
At this juncture, the protection and preservation of human life is our highest priority. “Isolated people need to be rescued, missing people need to be found, and families need support,” added Leite.
The rainfall total of 246 millimeters (9.7 inches) that occurred in a span of 18 hours at Sao Leopoldo, which is located half an hour away from Porto Alegre, was described as “a level never seen before in the history” of the city of 240,000 people by the mayor of Porto Alegre, Ary Jose Vanazzi.
On Sunday, the municipalities of Novo Hamburgo, Lindolfo Collor, and Sao Leopoldo all had streets that were flooded to some degree.
When the rain finally stopped falling, the soldiers in Novo Hamburgo were able to begin their rescue efforts.
However, further precipitation and chilly temperatures are forecasted for the middle of the next week, which may make the situation much more difficult for those who are already being affected.Over the last several years, Brazil has been devastated by a string of terrible natural catastrophes, many of which, according to scientists, are being made worse by the effects of climate change.
At least sixty-five persons lost their lives in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo in the month of February as a result of flooding and landslides that were caused by intense rainfall.