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Saturday, April 13 2024
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Powerful Storm Leaves at Least 12 Dead in Southeast Brazil, Rescue ops on

Powerful Storm
Photo Credit : AFP

A significant storm has resulted in the loss of at least twelve lives in southeastern Brazil, primarily impacting the mountainous regions of Rio de Janeiro state. Authorities have mobilized rescue teams to address what they’ve termed a “critical” situation.

This incident occurs amid a series of extreme weather occurrences in Brazil, the largest country in South America, believed by experts to be linked to climate change.

Official reports indicate that eight individuals lost their lives in Rio de Janeiro state, while in the neighboring Espirito Santo state, at least four deaths have been confirmed, with seven individuals reported missing.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva commented on the situation, acknowledging the exacerbation of such environmental disasters due to climate change. He mentioned thousands of individuals displaced by the storm and assured collaboration between the federal government and local authorities to manage the aftermath and mitigate future risks.

In Rio state, four fatalities occurred when a residence collapsed in Petropolis, located 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital. Remarkably, amidst the tragedy, a young girl was rescued after being trapped for over 16 hours in the debris, her father having shielded her with his own body.

Further north in Espirito Santo, the situation is described as chaotic, particularly in Mimoso do Sul, where the extent of casualties is still being assessed.

Meanwhile, in Sao Paolo state, two children sustained injuries during the storm and were hospitalized.

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro declared a state of emergency as heavy rains led to the overflow of the Quitandinha River in Petropolis. Rescue efforts have been underway, with soldiers and emergency services deployed to affected areas. Schools have opened their doors to accommodate displaced individuals.

The scenes from affected areas depict torrents of water, mudslides, and submerged neighborhoods, reminiscent of past catastrophic events, such as the devastating storm in February 2022 that claimed numerous lives in Petropolis.

Weather forecasts anticipate continued heavy rainfall in the coming days, particularly in mountainous and northern regions of Rio de Janeiro state. Precautionary measures have been advised, with authorities urging residents to stay indoors.

This storm follows a recent period of record-breaking heat, with temperatures soaring to unprecedented levels, further compounding the challenges faced by affected communities.

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