January 18, 2022

In Brazil, the flood toll rises to 20 dead, 63,000 people displaced

Floods caused by heavy rains in the state of Bahia (northeastern Brazil) have killed two more, bringing the number of deaths since the beginning of November in the region to twenty, with nearly 63,000 people displaced, according to information given by local authorities, Monday, December 27.

“We are living through the greatest disaster in the history of Bahia”said state governor Rui Costa, who since Saturday has been overseeing a joint operation in the affected areas with the federal government and other states.

Two deaths were recorded in the town of Itabuna. A 21-year-old man was swept away by the current and a 33-year-old woman was killed in a landslide, according to the latest local government report.

“The water is starting to decline at the source of the Cachoeira river and, although slowly, it is expected to improve in the days to come”, said the governor.

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Streets transformed into rivers

Houses were under water and streets turned into rivers in several municipalities in the south of the state, affected since Thursday by heavy rainfall that caused dams to burst and rivers overflowed over the weekend. In Itapetinga, aerial footage from Agence France-Presse showed three men paddling face down on a straw mattress in a street surrounded by houses with water reaching up to the windows.

The equivalent of a month of water fell in some municipalities, notably in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, which on Friday received up to five times the historical average of 58 millimeters for the month of December, according to the city’s civil defense.

The number of displaced people has almost doubled since Sunday: nearly 62,800 people have had to leave their homes, according to the civil protection of Bahia (Sudec). In addition, 358 people have been injured since the onset of heavy rains in November. In total, it is estimated that 116 municipalities, including at least 100 in emergency situations, and more than 471,000 people are affected by these rains.

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The World with AFP