Death toll from rains in southern Brazil rises to 56, with around 70 still missing

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The death toll from rains in Brazil’s southernmost Rio Grande do Sul state has reached 56, local authorities said on Saturday morning, with dozens more still unaccounted for.

Rio Grande do Sul’s civil defense authorities say more than half of the state’s 497 cities on the border with Uruguay and Argentina have been affected by the storm, with 67 people still missing and nearly 25,000 people still missing. announced that they were evacuating.

Floods destroyed roads and bridges in several parts of the state. The storm also caused landslides and the collapse of part of a small hydropower dam. A second dam in the city of Bento Gonçalves is also at risk of collapse, authorities said.

In Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, the Guaiba River burst its banks and flooded roads.

Porto Alegre International Airport has suspended all flights indefinitely.

governor Eduardo Leite told reporters Friday night that the death toll could still rise.

Brazil’s National Meteorological Institute said more rain was possible in northern regions of the state on Saturday, and authorities called on people living in dangerous areas to evacuate elsewhere.

(Reporting by Andre Romani and Eduardo Simoes; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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