Brazil floods death toll rises to 83, dozens remain missing

By Jack Guy and Julia Vargas Jones, CNN

CNN  — 

The death toll from a series of catastrophic floods in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has risen to at least 83, the state’s civil defense unit said Monday.

Authorities are also investigating another four deaths to determine if they were related to the storms.

A further 276 people are reportedly injured and at least 111 people are missing, while at least 121,000 people have been displaced, according to the Civil Defense of Rio Grande do Sul.

The disaster has affected more than 850,000 people in 345 municipalities, destroying homes, roads and bridges.

Military firefighters rescue a man using a helicopter.
People being rescued in Canoas.

CNN spoke to local residents and evacuees who reported seeing dead bodies still in the flood water, likely not yet counted in the death toll.

Col. José Carlos Sallet, subcommander of Rio Grande do Sul Military Firefighters, told CNN on Sunday that approximately 1,000 firefighters are working on rescue missions.

“When the rain stops, they have been doing short operations to save as many people as possible. Yesterday (Saturday) were we able to intensify operations,” Sallet said.

Images show muddy brown waters rising as high as rooftops in some areas, while rescue teams were out with inflatable rafts, taking people and pets on board.

Mud left after floodwaters receded in Jacarezinho.
Destroyed buildings in the town of Roca Sales.

Rio Grande do Sul has been increasingly hit by extreme weather events in recent years, and at least 54 people died in the state in September after it endured a sub-tropical cyclone.

The climate crisis, caused primarily by humans burning fossil fuels, is supercharging extreme weather around the world, making many events more intense and more frequent.

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