At least 56 people have been killed as heavy rains and floods hit Brazil

Carlos Fabal/AFP/Getty Images

Muddy water caused flooding of farmland and roads in many parts of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, with thousands of people affected.



CNN

At least 56 people died and 67 others went missing due to heavy rains and flooding Floods It hit the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul this week.

At least 74 others were injured amid a series of catastrophic floods that affected 281 municipalities, according to the latest figures published by the Civil Defense on Saturday.

The local government declared a state of disaster in the areas where more than 67,000 people were affected. The Civil Defense said that nearly 10,000 were displaced and more than 4,500 were living in temporary shelters.

Authorities are closely monitoring dams that are not designed to handle such a large volume of water, but said there is no imminent risk of failure.

Carlos Fabal/AFP/Getty Images

Residents and a dog are evacuated from a flooded area in downtown São Sebastião do Cai, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on May 2, 2024.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with local officials overseeing relief efforts on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing a historic catastrophe,” said state Governor Eduardo Leite. “The material losses are enormous, but our focus at this moment is rescue operations. There are still people waiting for help.”

Pictures showed water rising to the roofs of houses in some areas, while rescue teams took out rubber rafts to transport people and pets on board.

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The authorities said that the water level in Lake Guayba rose by five meters on Saturday morning due to heavy rains, threatening the state capital, Porto Alegre.

The city of Rio Grande do Sul has been increasingly exposed to extreme weather events in recent years. At least 54 people died in the state in September after it was hit by a sub-tropical cyclone. This year’s death toll has already surpassed that record.

The climate crisis, caused primarily by humans burning fossil fuels, is increasing extreme weather conditions around the world, leading to numerous events More intense And more frequent.

In the past few weeks alone, record rains have caused deadly floods and brought chaos to the desert city of Dubai; Reservoirs across Southeast Asia are drying up due to an ongoing regional heatwave and ongoing drought, while Kenya is battling floods and torrential rains that have overwhelmed river banks and killed nearly 200 people.

Anselmo Cunha/AFP/Getty Images

Volunteers use a fishing boat to rescue residents trapped inside their homes in Sao Sebastiao do Cai, Rio Grande do Sul state.

Last year was the hottest on record, with air and ocean temperatures exceeding many scientists’ expectations. The world is already 1.2°C warmer than it was in pre-industrial times.

The percentage of high-intensity hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, has increased Due to rising global temperatures, according to the United Nations. Heat waves are becoming more frequent and lasting longer.

Scientists also found that storms are more likely to stall and produce damaging, lasting rains longer after they make landfall.

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Lizzy Yee and Omar Fajardo also contributed to this report.

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