Death toll hits 180 in record floods in Brazil

by IANS |

 July 4 (IANS) At least 180 people have died from weeks of record flooding in southern Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state and 32 people remain missing, said the civil defence agency. Torrential rains began on April 29 and continued for days, inundating cities across the state. Rescue and recovery work started after the flooding began to subside in mid-June, reported Xinhua news agency. Severe weather has impacted some 2,398,255 inhabitants in 478 towns, including the state capital, Porto Alegre, said the agency in a report, adding that during the height of the storms, more than 450,000 people were evacuated. Brazil's government has allocated 85.7 billion reals (about $15.4 billion) to aid and rebuild Rio Grande do Sul, according to Secretary of Social Communication Paulo Pimenta, who was appointed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to oversee the reconstruction effort. Rio Grande do Sul, an agricultural state located on the border with Uruguay and Argentina, has seen record economic losses from the disaster. --IANS int/rs/svn

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