The toll of heavy rains that have hit the Brazilian state of Bahia since November rose to 18 dead on Sunday, amid incessant torrents that have displaced 35,000 people, authorities said.
Bahia firefighters on Sunday confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man who drowned in a river in the south of the state.
Two people are also missing, while 19,580 have been displaced and 16,001 others forced to seek shelter, bringing to 35,000 the number of people driven from their homes, the Bahia Sudec civil protection agency said.
Another 286 people have been injured since the downpours started, Sudec added.
It is estimated that more than 430,800 people have been affected and the situation has only worsened in recent days.
Sunday afternoon, the number of municipalities in a state of emergency had risen to 72, including 58 in crisis due to flooding, according to Sudec.
“It is a huge tragedy,” said Governor Rui Costa, who inspected the damaged areas by plane on Sunday.
“I don’t remember anything of this dimension in Bahia’s recent history. The number of houses, streets and towns completely underwater is truly terrifying.”
A joint operation of the federal and state emergency services has been mobilized since Saturday to rescue thousands of residents trapped by the floods.
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