Torrential rains kill 18 in Brazil, 13 in Bolivia

A man was killed in inclement weather strikes the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, bringing the death toll to 18 since early November in the region, where 58 municipalities were flooded and 35,000 displaced, said Sunday, December 26 local authorities.

Bahia firefighters have confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man, who drowned in a river in the southern municipality of Aurelino Leal.

In addition to these 18 deaths, two people remain missing, 19,580 were displaced and 16,001 had to request shelter, bringing the number of people driven from their homes by the climate phenomenon to around 35,000, according to the Bahia Civil Protection. (Sudec). Meanwhile, 286 people have been injured since the heavy rains began in November, she added. In total, an estimated 430,869 people were affected by these rains.

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“A gigantic tragedy”

The critical situation worsened towards the end of the weekend. Sunday afternoon, the number of municipalities in emergency situation rose to 72, of which 58 are in crisis due to flooding, according to Sudec. The day before, local authorities had reported 19 municipalities affected by the floods.

“It’s a gigantic tragedy. I do not remember anything of this dimension in the recent history of Bahia. The number of houses, streets and towns completely underwater is truly terrifying ”said Governor Rui Costa, who flew over the disaster areas in southern Bahia on Sunday morning.

Since Saturday, a joint operation has been held between the Federal State and the State of Bahia mobilizing personnel, helicopters and equipment to come to the aid of thousands of inhabitants trapped by the floods, with the cooperation of other States such as those from Minas Gerais, Sergipe, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo. Some 25 roads have been interrupted or flooded in different parts of the state, some due to rock or earth landslides, according to Bahia’s infrastructure ministry.

In Bolivia, 13 dead and a thousand families affected

In Bolivia, torrential rains that fell over much of the country left 13 dead and a thousand families affected, according to official figures released on Sunday. “There are more than 1 000 families affected, 13 people dead ”, said Deputy Minister of Civil Defense Juan Carlos Calvimontes on public radio and television.

Mr. Calvimontes indicated that the situation in the department of Santa Cruz (east) was “Very critical” due to the flooding of the Ichilo, Grande and Piraí rivers, the waters of which flooded inhabited areas and agricultural lands devoted to cereal and oilseed crops. In the municipality of San Julian, 32 people who cannot be reached must be evacuated in the next few hours by air, added Mr. Calvimontes.

The meteorological services have issued a warning against torrential rains in the departments of Potosí, Chuquisaca and Tarija in the south of the country. Television footage showed the swollen rivers in La Paz and Cochabamba.

The World with AFP

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Torrential rains kill 18 in Brazil, 13 in Bolivia

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