Floods caused by heavy rains in southern Brazil left almost 60 dead and 67 missing, an unprecedented climate disaster that hit the modern city of Porto Alegre hard on Saturday.

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The overflowing of water channels and landslides keep numerous roads interrupted in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, with almost 300 localities affectedmany of them isolated.

The rapid rise in the last hours of the Guaíba River flooded the historic center of Porto Alegre, one of the largest cities in southern Brazil, with a population of almost 1.4 million.

According to the mayor’s office, its level was 5.09 meters, above the record of 4.76 meters, recorded when the city suffered historic floods in 1941.

The city was in a state of chaos, AFP found. Numerous streets were under water and residents tried to evacuate their homes.

In the midst of the rescue efforts, a Strong explosion at a gas station left at least two dead in the north of the city, confirmed an AFP journalist present at the time of the explosion.

The incident occurred when vehicles working in rescues were refueling at the flooded service station, from where a thick cloud of smoke emerged, visible from afar.

In many places, long lines formed to try to board a bus, while car drivers tried to make their way through the floodwaters.

The situation also forced the cancellation of the arrival and departure of buses to the city’s main station, located on the banks of the Guaíba.

The Porto Alegre international airport suspended its operations on Friday for an indefinite period.

In the Navegantes neighborhood, in the northern area of ​​Porto Alegre, José Augusto Moraes de Lima asked the firefighters for help to rescue a child who was trapped in his house, since a leg problem prevented him from taking him with him.

Suddenly, in a matter of minutes, everything flooded. I lost everything, television, wardrobe, bed, refrigerator“, the 61-year-old merchant told AFP anguished.

Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite said it was a “dramatic” and “absolutely unprecedented” situation.

The mayor of Porto Alegre, Sebastiao Melo, reported that “despite the great containment effort”, a dam on another river that flows through the city, the Gravataí, began to overflow.

“The communities must leave the place,” he wrote on the X platform.

Melo also asked the population to ration water, after four of the city’s six treatment plants had to be closed.

Baby rescue

Porto Alegre is the capital of one of the most thriving states in the country, with the fifth GDP of the largest Latin American economy and essentially agricultural production, with large crops of soy, rice, wheat and corn.

In the state, rescue brigades are trying to reach and supply numerous isolated municipalities, without communications and with blocked roads, and even without electricity or water.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva published a video of members of the armed forces rescuing a baby from a helicopter. In the pictures, An agent can be seen hitting the roof of a house with a brick to be able to remove the creature, wrapped in a blanket.

Civil Defense reported in its last bulletin that 57 dead, 67 missing, 74 injured and 32,600 evacuated were recorded.

The authorities are working to build shelters in sports centers and other facilities, which so far have received more than 9,500 people throughout the state, according to Civil Defense.

In one of them, installed in a cultural center in Gravataí, a suburb in the north of Porto Alegre, is Claudio Almiro.

“When I left the house, I was in water up to my waist,” the 55-year-old man told AFP with a haggard face. “I lost everything”.

“Disastrous cocktail”

Aerial images of the area show huge surfaces completely flooded, bridges and roads washed away, and people being rescued on roofs with helicopters.

The forecast anticipates until Sunday rains of “very high severity” that will further load the rivers and may cause large landslides, Civil Defense said on Friday.

The rains impact the southern state of Santa Catarina, where the death of a man was recorded on Friday when his car was swept away by the current.

The “disastrous cocktail” of climate change and the El Niño meteorological phenomenon favored the devastating rains that hit the south of Brazil and other extreme events, Brazilian climatologist Francisco Eliseu Aquino told AFP.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul suffered several extreme weather events last year; the most serious, the passage of a cyclone in September that left more than 30 dead.

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Source: https://www.noticiascaracol.com/mundo/con-un-ladrillo-socorristas-rescatan-a-bebe-en-medio-de-mortales-inundaciones-en-brasil-cb20

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