HomeTop StoriesAt least 21 killed and thousands displaced by cyclone in Brazil

At least 21 killed and thousands displaced by cyclone in Brazil

Torrential rain and wind brought on by an extratropical cyclone killed at least 21 people in southern Brazil, officials said Tuesday. They warned that more flooding may be on the way.

The latest in a string of weather disasters to hit Brazil is the deadliest ever to hit the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Governor Eduardo Leite told a news conference.

“We were deeply saddened to receive the news that as the water recedes… 15 more bodies have been found in the town of Mucum, bringing the death toll to 21,” he said.

Nearly 6,000 people were forced from their homes by the storms, which began Monday, with hail and nearly a foot of rain falling across the state in less than 24 hours, causing flooding and landslides, officials said.

Cyclone in Brazil
Aerial view of the area affected by an extratropical cyclone in Mucum, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, on Sept. 5, 2023. Heavy rain and wind caused by an extratropical cyclone killed at least 21 people in southern Brazil officials said Tuesday.


In Mucum, a small town of 5,000, hundreds had to have their roofs saved when the Taquari River flooded more than 85 percent of the town, local news site GZH reported.

“People are still missing. The death toll could be even higher,” Mayor Mateus Trojan told Radio Gaucha.

“The town of Mucum as we knew it no longer exists.”

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent a message of solidarity to those affected, saying the federal government is “ready to help.”

The victims included a man who died from an electric shock in the town of Passo Fundo and a couple whose car was swept away by a river as they tried to cross a bridge in the town of Ibiraiaras.

The storms affected a total of 67 municipalities and affected more than 52,000 people, authorities said.

According to news site G1, the neighboring state of Santa Catarina also recorded one death.

Hundreds of firefighters, military police and civil defense personnel were dispatched as part of rescue operations, sending helicopters to reach areas cut off by flooding.

“There are many isolated families, many people are still at risk,” said Communications Minister Paulo Pimenta, who plans to travel to the region with a government delegation on Wednesday.

With more rain forecast from Thursday, authorities are warning that more flooding is possible.

It is the latest in a string of deadly weather events to hit Brazil that experts say are likely to be exacerbated by climate change.

Uncontrolled urbanization and irregular housing built on slopes also make such disasters more deadly, officials say.

An estimated 9.5 million of Brazil’s 203 million people live in areas at high risk of flooding or landslides.

In June, another cyclone left thirteen dead in Rio Grande do Sul and forced thousands of people to leave their homes.

And in February, 65 people died in landslides triggered by record flooding in the southeastern resort of Sao Sebastiao, on the coast of Sao Paulo state.

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