Floods in Brazil cause “worst disaster in Bahia” history

Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in Bahia (northeastern Brazil), with at least 20 people dead and more than 20,000 displaced in the region since early November, local officials told AFP on Monday.

“We are experiencing the worst disaster in the history of Bahia.”Governor Rui Costa, who has been overseeing a joint operation with the federal government and other states in the affected areas since Saturday, said.

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“A great tragedy”

“It simply came to our notice then. I do not remember any of these dimensions in Bahia’s recent history. The sheer number of houses, streets and cities completely underwater is truly appalling. ”, He assessed after flying in disaster areas.

South Bahia was already devastated by heavy rains in late November and the rains have intensified again since Thursday, with ditches breaking and flooding in recent days.

Two new deaths have been reported in Itabuna. A 21-year-old man was swept away in a flood and a 33-year-old woman was killed in a landslide, according to a recent local government report Monday afternoon.

The number of displaced people has almost doubled since Sunday, with 62,796 people forced to flee their homes, according to Bahia’s Civil Defense (Sudek).

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Expected “progress” in the “coming days”

In all, some 116 municipalities, including at least 100 emergencies, and 471,009 people have been affected by the floods and since November, about 358 people have been injured.

“The water at the source of the Kachoira River is beginning to recede, albeit slowly, and is expected to improve in the coming days.”, Said the Governor.

Houses were swallowed up in several municipalities in the south of the state and streets turned into rivers, affected by heavy rains since Thursday, causing dams to break and rivers to overflow over the weekend.

AFP aerial footage shows three men paddling face litter on straw mattresses on a street surrounded by houses in Idabettinga.

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Five months of rain in a few hours

In this completely submerged city, Italicio dos Santos tried to navigate through the brown waters in a small inflatable boat. “I’ve already made twenty trips to bring people in.”, Says to this resident.

In the small neighboring town of Itambe, Tiola Almeida helped her mother save some supplies. In some houses, the water level has risen to 1.80 meters. My mother’s, 1.40 m ”, He explains.

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A month-long equivalent of rain fell in a few hours in some municipalities. Salvador, the capital of Bahia province, recorded a historic average of 58 mm for the month of December, according to the city’s Civil Defense. Received up to five times more on Friday than I did.

“There is a connection” Estael Sias, a meteorologist with the forecasting company MetSul, estimates the intensity of rainfall in the northeastern part of the country and the La Nina climate event, which causes more than normal rainfall.

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