Published: 2023-06-18 20:03
Last Updated: 2023-12-07 17:32
A cyclone tore through southern Brazil, killing at least 11 people and forcing thousands from their homes, authorities said Sunday.
Another 10 people are missing after the storm in Rio Grande do Sul state Thursday and Friday, authorities said, reducing this figure from 20 given earlier.
A four-month-old baby is among the fatalities, local media said. They broadcast footage of a car being swept into a cemetery by powerful winds.
"The water came up to our waist inside the house. Thank God, the firemen arrived quickly and got us out on boats. It seemed like a nightmare," a woman in the town of Sao Leopoldo told the newspaper Estadao, which did not give her name.
Other people were evacuated by helicopter.
A total of 3,713 people were left with damaged houses and 697 were evacuated from areas at risk due to the passage of the cyclone between Thursday and Friday.
Rio Grande do Sul governor Eduardo Leite visited the worst-affected areas by helicopter on Saturday together with government and rescue officials.
In Caraa, one of the worst-hit towns, the governor visited a community center used to shelter hundreds of people whose homes were damaged by the storm.
"The situation in Caraa worries us deeply. It is essential that we can, in an integrated manner, quickly map the main affected areas and identify the people who need support," the governor said in the statement.
Leite said state firefighters had rescued about 2,400 people in the past two days.
"Our main objective at this moment is to protect and save human lives. Rescue people who are isolated, locate the missing and support families," Leite said.
Brazil has been hit by a series of deadly weather disasters in recent years, which experts say are being made worse by climate change.
At least 65 people died in February when torrential rain triggered floods and landslides in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo.