Heavier rain expected as death toll from Brazil floods rises to 126

(CNN) — More heavy rains are expected to continue hitting Brazil, as the South American nation still grapples with the deadly consequences of last week’s extreme weather, which submerged entire neighborhoods in Rio Grande do Sul.

Heavy rain and flooding have killed at least 126 people in the state of Brazil since last week, the state’s civil defense agency said Thursday morning.

According to civil defense, some 1.9 million people in 441 municipalities have been affected, with at least 754 injured and around 164,000 displaced. At least 134 people remain missing.

The catastrophic floods have been accompanied by social unrest, with at least 47 people arrested for looting and other crimes amid the chaos. Six of those arrested are suspected of having committed sexual abuse in shelters for people whose homes were affected by the floods, according to state media Agencia Brasil.

However, officials are urging those who have been rescued from the floods not to return to their homes, warning that even more rain is forecast.

From this Friday until Sunday, intense rainfall is expected to fall again in the east and north-central of Rio Grande do Sul, and in some areas 100 mm (almost 4 inches) are expected, reported on Wednesday night. the national meteorology institute INMET.

Floods in Brazil.

“It is important to highlight that the predicted volumes of rain can cause new disturbances in areas already affected previously,” reads a statement from INMET.

The record rainfall hitting the region has been linked to El Niño, a natural climate phenomenon that warms the waters of the Pacific and tends to cause heavy rains in southern Brazil. Long-term global warming caused primarily by humans burning fossil fuels has also exacerbated extreme weather in the region.

With much of southern Brazil’s communications disrupted by the storms, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also announced in a post on Thursday that Starlink will donate 1,000 internet terminals to emergency services in the region.

According to the government of Rio Grande do Sul, reconstruction will require the equivalent of 3.7 billion US dollars.

The latest storms have also flooded parts of neighboring Uruguay, leaving some 1,347 people displaced and thousands more without power, the national emergency system said late Wednesday.

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