The bad weather that has hit the Brazilian state of Bahia (northeast) since the beginning of November has claimed another victim, local authorities announced on Sunday, December 26, bringing the number of people dead due to rains to eighteen. torrential waters that hit the region.
Bahia firefighters have confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man, who drowned in a river in the southern municipality of Aurelino Leal. Two people remain missing, 19,580 have been displaced and 16,001 have had to request shelter, which brings to about 35,000 the number of people driven from their homes by the climatic phenomenon, according to the civil protection of Bahia (Sudec). Meanwhile, 286 people have been injured since the heavy rains began in November, she added. In total, the number of people affected by these rains is estimated at 430,869 individuals.
“A gigantic tragedy”
The critical situation worsened towards the end of the weekend. Sunday afternoon, the number of municipalities in an emergency situation rose to seventy-two, of which fifty-eight are in crisis due to flooding, according to Sudec. The day before, local authorities had reported nineteen municipalities affected by the floods.
“It’s a gigantic tragedy. I do not remember anything of this dimension in the recent history of Bahia. The number of houses, streets and towns completely underwater is truly terrifying ”said Governor Rui Costa, who flew over the disaster areas in southern Bahia on Sunday morning.
Since Saturday, a joint operation has been held between the Federal State and the State of Bahia mobilizing personnel, helicopters and equipment to come to the aid of thousands of inhabitants trapped by the floods, with the cooperation of other States such as those from Minas Gerais, Sergipe, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo. Some twenty-five roads have been interrupted or flooded in different parts of the state, some due to landslides of stones or earth, according to Bahia’s infrastructure ministry.
In Bolivia, a thousand families affected
In Bolivia, torrential rains that fell over much of the country left thirteen dead and a thousand affected families, according to official figures released on Sunday. “There are more than a thousand families affected”, said Deputy Minister of Civil Defense Juan Carlos Calvimontes on public radio and television.
Mr. Calvimontes indicated that the situation in the department of Santa Cruz was “Very critical” due to the flooding of the Ichilo, Grande and Pirai rivers, the waters of which flooded inhabited areas and agricultural land used for grain and oilseed crops. In the municipality of San Julian, thirty-two people who cannot be reached are to be evacuated in the next few hours by air, added Mr. Calvimontes.
The meteorological services have issued a warning against torrential rains in the departments of Potosi, Chuquisaca and Tarija in the south of the country. Television footage showed the swollen rivers in La Paz and Cochabamba.
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Torrential rains kill eighteen in Brazil, thirteen dead in Bolivia