Storm in Brazil causes flooding

A view of a house in a flooded area from a helicopter.  BRAZILIAN AIR FORCE
A view of a house in a flooded area from a helicopter. BRAZILIAN AIR FORCE

BRASILIA – At least ten people have died and more than twenty are missing after storms caused flooding in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Helicopters fly above the region in search of people who are stranded.

In some areas, flooding has been so severe that helicopters have been unable to land and residents have had to be moved to safety.

The state’s governor has asked the federal government for help.

“President Lula, please immediately send as much air support as possible to RS (Rio Grande do Sul). We need to rescue hundreds of people in dozens of municipalities that are in emergency situations due to the heavy rain that has already fallen and will continue to fall in the coming days,” Governor Eduardo Leite wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva responded, saying the federal government would “join the efforts of the state government and municipalities to get through this difficult time resulting from climate change affecting the planet.”

Ten people were killed, officials said. Two people were killed when the car they were in was swept away by water in the small town of Paverama. Another died in a landslide in Salvador do Sul.

21 people are still missing and about 1,500 people are stranded.

“We continue to work hard to locate the missing and ensure the safety of communities in high-risk areas,” Leite said.

The mayor of Sinimbu told the news site G1 that her city was experiencing “a nightmare”.

In Candelária, residents took to the roofs of their homes as their homes filled with water.

Bridges have collapsed and more than twenty streets have become impassable, making it difficult for emergency services to reach affected areas.

Meteorologists predict more rain will fall in the region as a cold front passes through.

Last year, more than thirty people died in a cyclone in Rio Grande do Sul.

Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology attributed the increased intensity and frequency of rainfall to the El Niño climate phenomenon. (BBC)