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Montevideo, May 19th 2024 - 07:52 UTC



Death toll in storm-hit Rio Grande do Sul updated to 116

Saturday, May 11th 2024 - 10:50 UTC
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Assistance to places only reached by helicopter might be affected by rains during the weekend Assistance to places only reached by helicopter might be affected by rains during the weekend

The total number of casualties in the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul affected by unprecedented heavy rains has been updated to 116 as bad weather has been forecast to continue over the weekend. Volumes estimated to be around 115 millimeters would again put pressure on the already overflowing rivers, according to Presidential Information Minister Paulo Pimenta.

In addition to “saving lives” and “attending to the victims,” the authorities are focusing on “recovering communications, energy, and roads,” and on guaranteeing the flow of food, drinking water, and medicines, Pimenta also explained.

The situation “is very worrisome,” said Regional Development Minister Waldez Goés. New precipitations could jeopardize the works to resume traffic on dozens of highways in the State, he also pointed out.

After ten days of heavy rains, 116 have been reported dead, 143 missing and 756 injured while 70,772 others are being housed in shelters. Some two million people were directly affected by the storms in 437 municipalities totally or partially under water, where 337,346 residents had to leave their homes. Rescue teams have evacuated 70,863 people and 9,984 animals.

In Porto Alegre, the State's capital, the Salgado Filho International Airport remains flooded and unoperational, making supply tasks even harder. In other parts of Rio Grande do Sul, help can only be delivered by helicopter. Hence, relief tasks might be affected by the coming bad weather. The federal government has already announced a financial aid package of R$ 50 billion (US$ 9.8 billion).

Brazil's meteorological authority Inmet is forecasting heavy rains in the state starting Friday and likely to continue until Sunday (12) with greater intensity in the center-north and east of the state as well as the south of neighboring Santa Catarina.

In Rio Grande do Sul, some 1.74 million are said to have no access to electricity, water, or food, as per the latest Civil Defense report. The number of municipalities affected has reached 431, over 80% of the state’s cities.

Categories: Environment, Brazil.

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