Brazilian Floods Leave Over 90 Dead and 100 Missing

( – Massive floods have devastated Brazil. Rescue workers have spent days trying to save people’s lives. Dozens of people are now dead and thousands are homeless.

On May 8, reporting indicated at least 75 people were dead after a week-long flood destroyed the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The floodwaters essentially cut off the state capital Porto Alegre. A day later, authorities revealed the death toll had risen to 90. More than 130 people are unaccounted for.

Thousands of Brazilians were left homeless and stranded because of the flooding. Reuters reported many of them were sleeping on the roadside on the outskirts of Porto Alegre. Families were seen fleeing the area on foot, pushing shopping carts and carrying backpacks, just trying to salvage as many of their belongings as they could.

Porto Alegre has six water treatment facilities to service the area, but only one was working as of May 9. Porto Alegre Mayor Sebastião Melo told the press they were “living an unprecedented natural disaster and everyone needs to help.” He said residents would have to go to local soccer fields to pick up water because he wasn’t able to deliver it home to home.

Water is scarce because of the damage to the treatment facility. Personal hygiene products and food are also running out. Other states have started mobilizing aid to go to Rio Grande do Sul. More than 800,000 people are without clean water.

People are still stranded in their homes, with images reminiscent of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rescuers used small boats to make their way through towns and look for survivors. One man, only identified as Ricardo Junior, told a Reuters journalist that he was with strangers and they hadn’t eaten for three days. “I don’t know where my family is,” he said.

Approximately 16,000 people are in gymnasiums, schools, and other temporary shelters.

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