Death toll from south Brazil’s climate disaster hits 151

Since torrential rains began to lash the country's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, on April 29, floods and mudslides have left some 600,000 people homeless.

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Rescue team members transfer equipment and medicine from a flooded hospital in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, May 10, 2024. (Photo by Lucio Tavora/Xinhua)

As many as 151 people have died to date from south Brazil’s worst climate disaster on record and another 104 people remain missing, the Civil Defense agency said Thursday.

Since torrential rains began to lash the country’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, on April 29, floods and mudslides have left some 600,000 people homeless.

In the last 24 hours, the number of fatal victims rose from 149 to 151 as 458 of the state’s 497 cities were suffering from severe flooding, including the capital Porto Alegre, where the Guaiba River burst its banks and inundated most of the metropolis.

According to the Civil Defense agency’s latest report, over 2.28 million residents have been directly impacted by the disaster in the state, which borders Argentina and Uruguay, and is a center of Brazilian agribusiness, as well as the top rice producer in Latin America.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the area again on Wednesday, speaking to those taking refuge in shelters, and pledged more aid for displaced families so they can buy new homes.

The government has set up an extraordinary secretariat in Porto Alegre, which has the ranking of a ministry, to coordinate relief and recovery efforts through February 2025.

Xinhua News Agency

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