OVER 400 FAMILIES HOMELESS IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL

RIO DE JANEIRO — The storms rolling through Brazil’s southernmost state Rio Grande do Sul in the past days have forced 443 families to leave their homes due to floods and landslides, local authorities said on Tuesday.

According to the local civil defense services, 23 towns have been affected by the storms. The hardest-hit region in the state is the border with Uruguay. The Quarai River, which separates both countries, has flooded at several points.

The Quarai is a tributary of the Uruguay River, which separates Brazil and Argentina and registered a record-high flood, with the water depth reaching 11 meters.

Brazil’s meteorology institute Inmet forecast more rains in the next days, not only for the border area but also for other regions in Rio Grande do Sul state.

Heavy storms, which often lead floods and mudslides, are common in the states of Brazil’s southern and southeastern regions. Often there are dozens, even hundreds of casualties and many people have to leave their homes, either temporarily due to floods or permanently due to the houses being destroyed beyond help.

In November 2008, a month-long storms struck dozens of towns in the southern state of Santa Catarina, killing 135 people and leaving over 10,000 homeless.

In January 2011, over 900 people died, 300 went missing and over 35,000 people had to leave their homes in a series of floods and landslides in the Rio de Janeiro state’s mountain range region, a heavily populated area. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com