At least 18 people have been reported dead and over 11,000 evacuated after rain five times the historical average left 19 municipalities in the Brazilian northern state of Bahia literally under mud and water. No Christmas to celebrate.
Over 11,000 people were evacuated and almost 4,200 taken to shelters as rains were five times the historical average for the month of December, local authorities reported.
Heavy rains in the region since the beginning of November had caused 17 deaths, the last one reported last Thursday, according to the Superintendency of Protection and Civil Defense of Bahia (Sudec). A new fatality was reported over the weekend.
A total of 66 municipalities were in an emergency situation due to the storms in the last hours, according to Sudec.
In the twenty cities hit by the storm, including Guaratinga, Itororó and Coaraci, the number of people evacuated from their homes reached 11,260 and the number of people who needed shelter amounted to 4,185, according to Sudec.
Federal and authorities mounted a joint relief operation Sunday, with help from other states, such as Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo or Sao Paulo, to keep assisting the victims.
We are fully mobilized, taking all measures, to ensure the necessary support for the victims of the heavy rains that hit Bahia this Christmas, Bahia Governor Rui Costa said in a video message, announcing the creation of a support base in Ilhéus.
Local authorities also reported floods, mudslides and stone avalanches had blocked traffic on 17 roads.
Salvador, the capital of Bahia, had accumulated 250 mm of rain in December until last Friday, a figure five times the historical average of 58 mm for the same month, Civil Defense said.
The storms also led a to the collapse of a dam under construction in the city of Vitoria da Conquista, which led to the evacuation of local residents.
The Itambé city council is currently the most affected, since the Iguá dam is located in that jurisdiction. “A dam with a large volume of water collapsed and a strong flash flood will affect the municipality of Itambé. All the inhabitants must urgently evacuate the banks of the Verruga River,” authorities said on social media.
The death toll from the heavy rains registered since the beginning of last November in the Brazilian state of Bahia (northeast) rose to 18 over the weekend, local authorities reported. The Bahia Military Fire Department confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man, who drowned in a river in the municipality of Aurelino Leal, in the south of the state.
We have 37 cities with various communities under water, Costa said after flying over the area.
In some neighborhoods of Salvador, Civil Defense alarms sounded Saturday night to evacuate residents from the dangers of landslides.