Heavy rains in southern Brazil leave 13 dead, dozens missing

by Shura Guseva

The death toll resulting from relentless rains in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul has surged to 13, announced local authorities on Thursday. The state government, grappling with the escalating crisis, has declared a state of public calamity to manage the unfolding emergency. The torrential storms, unleashing the worst havoc witnessed in years, have not only claimed lives but also left 21 individuals unaccounted for and forced 5,257 residents to evacuate across 134 cities, as disclosed by Rio Grande do Sul’s civil defenseReuters reported.

Heavy rains in southern Brazil leave 13 dead, dozens missing

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to conduct an aerial survey over the afflicted regions and convene with Governor Eduardo Leite later today in Santa Maria, where three fatalities have been recorded, marking the highest casualty count in a single locality thus far. In a social media video message, Governor Leite issued a plea for concerted efforts in rescue operations, urging for an all-hands-on-deck approach. He formally declared a state of public calamity, citing the peril posed by the state’s climatic predicament.

President Lula conveyed his commitment to Governor Leite during a late Wednesday phone conversation, pledging to dispatch whatever resources necessary to address the crisis, according to the president’s office. The inundations in Rio Grande do Sul represent the latest in a string of natural calamities to afflict Brazil. The state had previously weathered a tropical cyclone last September, claiming over 30 lives in its wake.

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