Heavy rains return to southern Brazil, flooding even higher ground in Porto Alegre


  • World
  • Friday, 24 May 2024

Rescue workers evacuate a woman and her pet from a flooded area at Cavalhada neighborhood, after heavy rains in Porto Alegre, May 23, 2024. REUERS/Diego vara

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (Reuters) - Heavy rains once again pounded parts of Brazil's southernmost state on Thursday, ruining days-long clean-up efforts and flooding areas which had previously been untouched in Rio Grande do Sul's capital city of Porto Alegre.

Record flooding over the past month has killed 163 people and displaced around 600,000 more. Another 64 people are still missing.

Rains had lightened up to a drizzle over the past few days, with stores beginning to open and residents working to rebuild.

But the skies opened once more on Thursday morning, dumping heavy rains and flooding areas of Porto Alegre all over again.

One daycare in the neighborhood of Menino Deus, which had reopened on Wednesday after a week-long clean-up, was forced to evacuate as the rains rushed in.

"It all happened very quickly, (the flooding happened) much faster than last time," the director of the childcare center, who did not give her name, said.

In a span of 12 hours, parts of Porto Alegre received more rains than they typically do in a whole month, according to data from the national meteorological institute.

The flooding on Thursday also hit areas of Porto Alegre, such as in the south, which had previously gone unscathed.

Gimena Samuel had to call for her elderly parents to be rescued in the neighborhood of Cavalhada, where streets were flooded and cars unable to get through.

"There are a lot of elderly people here who can't get out by themselves," she said.

Earlier this week, the city of Porto Alegre had asked residents to leave their trash out on the sidewalk to be thrown away. However, the fresh rains carried the trash out onto the street, clogging drains and worsening the flooding.

Porto Alegre Mayor Sebastiao Melo told reporters the city was not surprised by the downpour, but that it was "excessively heavy."

Residents, however, complained about the lack of warning.

(Report by Debora Ely in Porto Alegre; Additional reporting by Diego Vara; Writing by Andre Romani; Editing by Kylie Madry and Michael Perry)

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