Death toll increases to 116 due to heavy rains in Brazil

SAO PAULO- The storm that hit the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost in Brazilian geography, since Monday of last week, left at least 116 dead, more than 750 injured and another 143 missing.

Civil Defense reported this Friday that around 408,100 people were forced to leave their homes, of which 70,772 remain in shelters and another 337,346 in the homes of friends or relatives.

More than 1.9 million people were affected by the magnitude of floods that had not been seen since 1941. Of the 497 municipalities that make up RÃo Grande do Sul, 437 were affected in some way, including the capital Porto Alegre, where the water level exceeded five meters.

The National Institute of Meteorology predicts that the region would once again be hit by heavy rains, with volumes exceeding 100 millimeters.. According to the forecast, the winds will change direction and blow from the south, making it difficult for the waters to flow in some municipalities.

“The condition is quite critical, not only because of the issue of the rivers,” warned meteorologist Cátia Valente, from the hydrological events prevention center of Río Grande do Sul.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that it has already contacted the various Brazilian authorities to collaborate with those affected and is distributing aid items, such as blankets and mattresses, and evaluating the needs of the population. population.

UNHCR reported that in the coming days it will also be in a position to help all those people who have lost their documentation, or it has been damaged, to guarantee that refugees and asylum seekers continue to access social benefits and public services.

According to official figures compiled by UNHCR, Río Grande del Sur is home to more than 21,000 Venezuelans who have been relocated since April 2018. Likewise, it also highlighted that a high number of Haitian refugees reside in the region.

The agency also estimates that $3.21 million is needed to meet the most urgent needs, including direct financial assistance to affected people and the provision of essential relief items.