NewsCatastrophic floods in Southern Brazil claim 39 lives amid climate crisis

Catastrophic floods in Southern Brazil claim 39 lives amid climate crisis

Brazil is dealing with floods. A bridge collapsed into the water in front of witnesses.
Brazil is dealing with floods. A bridge collapsed into the water in front of witnesses.
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12:36 PM EDT, May 4, 2024

Southern Brazil is grappling with the aftermath of heavy rainfalls, leading to devastating floods and landslides that have claimed at least 39 lives, as reported by local media last Friday. The severity of the situation was highlighted by a video making rounds online, showcasing a bridge collapsing into the river moments before people nearby could react.

Since the start of last week, the region has been bombarded with torrential rains, which haven't been seen in 18 years. The flooding and mudslides have left numerous buildings and bridges severely damaged. At the end of last week, authorities confirmed 39 fatalities, with many individuals still missing. The dire circumstances are further illustrated by footage showing the moment a bridge gives way under the force of the raging waters, just as a man retreats from crossing, narrowly escaping as the structure is swept away.

This incident is among several recordings demonstrating the formidable power of nature at play in Brazil. Notably, the mayor of Santa Tereza, Gisele Caumo, also recorded a warning message to residents about the impending danger right before floodwaters destroyed a bridge behind her.

The crisis has left thousands without electricity, underscoring the dramatic situation in southern Brazil. During a visit to the affected areas, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva assured the people that there would be ample human and material support. He stressed the tangible impact of climate change experienced by the nation's residents.

Soldiers have been dispatched to the south to aid in relief efforts, equipped with planes and boats to help clear debris-laden roads and deliver essentials like food and water to victims. Climatologist Francisco Eliseu Aquino explained to AFP that the storms are a deadly mix of global warming and the El Niño phenomenon, which have converged to create what he described as a "catastrophic cocktail".

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