Rains Return to Flooded Southern Brazil, Interrupting Rescues


In southern Brazil, heavy rains have caused devastating floods, leaving over 100 people dead and forcing more than 163,000 to seek shelter. The floods began last week and have destroyed highways and bridges in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, near the borders of Uruguay and Argentina.

In the state capital of Porto Alegre, the Guaiba River overflowed, flooding city streets and homes. Residents like Adriana Freitas have lost everything, feeling helpless as their houses are submerged in water. The situation is dire, with at least 128 people still missing and the civil defense authority urging those near the Patos lagoon to evacuate immediately.

Rescue efforts have been underway, with army soldiers using specialized vehicles to reach flooded areas and evacuate people. In Canoas, just north of Porto Alegre, floodwaters have reached a depth of three meters, making it impossible to navigate streets without boats. Local volunteers are also helping, risking their lives to rescue stranded animals and people.

However, rescue operations have been interrupted due to the forecast of more rain, lightning storms, and strong winds. Porto Alegre city hall has warned volunteers to stop their efforts for safety reasons.

Despite the challenges, individuals like tractor driver Daniel Farias have been working tirelessly to help survivors. Farias has been using his tractor to transport families to safety, even sleeping in it with his children. The situation is dire, with food and water shortages, and many residents living in darkness after power cuts.

The southern area of Rio Grande do Sul remains at high risk of further flooding, with more rainfall expected in the coming days. The weather forecast predicts more severe floods, exacerbating the already critical situation.

Neighboring Uruguay is also facing storms and flooding, with hundreds displaced and thousands without power. In Brazil, residents in and around Porto Alegre are struggling with shortages and security concerns, as looting has been reported during rescue operations.

Despite the challenges, volunteers like Lauro Strogulski continue to risk their lives to help others, but the situation remains precarious, with safety concerns and the threat of more severe weather looming.


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