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In southern Brazil, a serious disaster has occurred due to heavy rains causing a hydroelectric dam to collapse. This disaster has led to more than 30 deaths, with around 60 people still missing in Rio Grande do Sul state. The situation has forced approximately 15,000 residents to evacuate their homes since Saturday. Moreover, over 500,000 people are facing challenges with power and access to clean water across the state.

The collapse of the dam resulted in a massive wave measuring about two meters (6.6 feet), adding to the chaos and destruction in the already flooded areas. This dam is situated between the municipality of Cotiporã and the city of Bento Gonçalves. The recent extreme weather conditions are believed to be caused by a combination of hotter temperatures than usual, high humidity levels, and strong winds.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has visited the affected region to assure support from the central government. State Governor Eduardo Leite has also urgently requested assistance, emphasizing the need to rescue hundreds of people in numerous municipalities. Efforts to locate stranded individuals have been launched, including the deployment of helicopters for search and rescue operations.

The severity of the flooding has made it challenging for helicopters to land in some areas, prompting the need to airlift residents to safety. In places like the Candelária municipality, residents had to seek refuge on the rooftops of their homes as floodwaters engulfed their houses.

Meteorologists have warned of further rainfall in the region as a cold front moves across, exacerbating the already dire situation. This disaster is reminiscent of a similar event last year when a cyclone in Rio Grande do Sul claimed the lives of over 30 people.

The National Institute of Meteorology in Brazil has attributed the intensified and more frequent rainfall to the climate phenomenon known as El Niño. Such extreme weather events underscore the importance of disaster preparedness and climate resilience measures to mitigate the impact on vulnerable communities.


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