March 25, 2023

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Brazil: Death toll from torrential rains rises

Brazil: Death toll from torrential rains rises

The Civil Defense said on Twitter that another 26 people were still missing.

The state’s governor, Paulo Camara, said more people may be missing.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spoke to the press after visiting the region on Monday.

“Unfortunately, these disasters have occurred,” Bolsonaro said during a press conference, adding that “similar problems” have occurred before in other cities affected by torrential floods.

“I flew over the damaged area and tried to land, but on the recommendation of the pilots, we decided not to do so due to the inconsistency of the soil,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

Since the torrential rains began on Wednesday, nearly 4,000 homes have been lost, according to CNN Brazil. 14 municipalities declared a state of emergency.

The Civil Defense in Pernambuco has urged residents living in high-risk areas around Recife to seek shelter elsewhere after rains triggered landslides there. Schools have been opened in Recife to house displaced families.

Northeast Brazil is experiencing exceptionally high amounts of rain, officials said. Some areas recorded more rain in a 24-hour period over the weekend than the total volume expected for May.

Some parts of the state had a respite from rain on Monday as rain moved towards the coast, but another 30-60mm of rain is expected in Pernambuco in the next couple of days, while isolated areas could see more than 100mm. The area could see more than half a month of rain in just four days, between Saturday on the weekend and the end of Tuesday.

Flashes – which can lead to power outages and falling debris – can reach 100 kilometers per hour.

Lake Mead's water level, running below expectations, could drop by another 12 feet when falling

Heavy rains over the weekend caused the fourth major flooding in five months in Brazil, according to a Reuters report, highlighting a lack of urban planning in low-income neighborhoods in much of the country. Slums – slums or shantytowns – are often erected on hillsides exposed to giving way, usually outside of major cities.

In December, it rains Caused two dams to explode in neighboring Bahia stateDozens were killed and entire streets flooded.

Camara, the state’s governor, said on Twitter that his office had provided 100 million Brazilian reals ($21 million) to help rain-affected areas.

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Seven other Brazilian states have offered to help and sent rescue teams to Pernambuco, according to CNN Brazil.

The climate crisis is making devastating extreme weather more common globally. As temperatures rise, the average amount of rain is actually expected to decrease in this part of Brazil, but extreme rain events are expected to occur more frequently and intensely, according to the Scientific projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This means that some parts of Brazil will experience prolonged droughts as well as more frequent and extreme rainfall events, which collectively make them more prone to flooding.

The cause of landslides is more complex, but they often occur during heavy rains in areas that have been excessively deforested and built on.

Robert Shackleford and CNN Weather’s Monica Jarrett contributed to this report. Marcelo Medeiros and Michelle Velez reported from Atlanta, Marcia Riverdosa from São Paulo, Mia Alberti in Beirut, and Amy Wodiat in London.