The flood toll in the Brazilian state of Bahia, in the northeast of the country, is heavier

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

Two new deaths were recorded in the town of Itabuna: a 21-year-old man who was swept away by the 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 affected 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, albeit 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 rains that burst dams and overflow rivers this weekend.

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

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

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

(AFP)

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