Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil —
An extratropical cyclone in southern Brazil caused flooding in several cities. At least 27 people were killed and more than 1,600 people were left homeless, authorities said Wednesday (6/9).
More than 60 cities have been hit by storms since Monday evening. Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite said the death toll was the highest in the state from a climate-related event.
Rescue efforts Wednesday expanded further west with helicopters deployed to the Rio Pardo Valley. The focus of search and rescue teams so far has been around the Taquari Valley, about 150 kilometers northwest of the state capital Porto Alegre, where most of the casualties and damage were recorded.
Heavy rain is still expected to fall in the south-central region of the state, but not likely in the worst-hit areas. Authorities on Wednesday issued three flood warnings for the Jacui, Cai and Taquari rivers.
Residents are evacuated by boat as they leave their flooded homes in Venancio Aires, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, September 5, 2023.
TV footage showed families on top of their homes, pleading for help as rivers overflowed. Some areas were cut off completely after wide roads turned into fast-flowing rivers.
According to Leite, 15 deaths occurred in one house in Mucum, a city of about 50,000 people. Once the storm passed, TV footage showed a goat hanging from a power line – an indication of how high the flood waters were.
Many of the victims died from electric shocks or were trapped inside vehicles, online news site G1 reported.
Mucum City Hall advised residents to prepare supplies to meet their needs for the next 72 hours.
Rio Grande do Sul was hit by another extratropical cyclone in June, killing 16 people and causing destruction in 40 towns. Many of them are located around Porto Alegre. (ka/hour)