Saturday, 22 January, 2022
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Death toll from Brazil flooding rises to 20

The death toll from heavy rain and flooding that has plagued the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia since November rose to 20 on Monday, amid incessant torrents that have displaced almost 63,000 people, authorities said.

Two new fatalities were recorded in the town of Itabuna: a 21-year-old man who was swept away by currents and a 33-year-old woman was killed in a landslide, according to a local government report.

"We are living through the biggest disaster in Bahia's history," said Bahia Governor Rui Costa, who has been overseeing rescue operations in the afflicted areas since Saturday.

"The water is starting to decline at the source of the Cachoeira River and it is expected to improve in the days to come, although slowly," Costa said.

Houses were under water and streets turned into rivers in several municipalities in the south of the state, pounded since Thursday by heavy rainfall that caused dams to burst and rivers to overflow at the weekend.

In Itapetinga, AFP aerial footage showed three men paddling on a straw mattress in a street surrounded by houses with water reaching their windows.

The number of people who have been driven from their homes by the flooding has almost doubled since Sunday to 62,796, according to the Civil Protection of Bahia.

Another 358 people have been injured since the onset of the heavy rains in November. In total, authorities estimate that 116 municipalities, including at least 100 that are in a state of emergency, have been affected by the heavy rains.