The Citizen (KZN)

‘Chaos’ in Brazil as many die in floods


– Rescuers in boats and aircraft raced against the clock late on Sunday to help isolated people in Brazil’s mountainou­s southeast after storms and heavy rains left tens of people dead in two states.

A weekend deluge pounded the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo, where authoritie­s described a chaotic situation.

The death toll in Espirito Santo rose from four to 17 on Sunday as rescuers advanced, aided by water levels that had dropped overnight as the rainfall temporaril­y subsided. The most affected municipali­ty was Mimoso do Sul, a town of almost 25 000 inhabitant­s in the south of Espirito Santo, where flooding has killed at least 15 people.

Ruined mattresses, armchairs and household appliances formed mountains of wreckage in the streets as the floodwater­s receded.

“I’ve never seen a flood like this,” shopkeeper Michelly Oliveira, 37, told local news site A Gazeta.

She held back tears as she said she was grateful to be alive, though her source of income – her shoe store – was destroyed.

Two more people died in the municipali­ty of Apiaca.

State governor Renato Casagrande described the situation as “chaotic”, though falling water levels on Sunday had allowed rescuers to make their way to previously inaccessib­le areas.

In the state of Rio de Janeiro, at least eight people have been killed, officials said, most of them from landslides. “It floods every year, at least once.

But this year it is already the third,” said Nicellio Ramos, 52, from Duque de Caxias.

At least 5 200 people had been evacuated from their homes, state authoritie­s said.

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