Status: December 27, 2021 3:27 p.m.
After heavy rains and dam bursts, large parts of the Brazilian state of Bahia are under water. At least 18 people were killed and 20,000 were left homeless. Many residents are still waiting for help.
Persistent heavy rains have caused the worst flooding in more than 30 years in northeastern Brazil, according to media reports. At least 18 people were killed in the state of Bahia and 20,000 were made homeless, according to the civil defense. A total of around 430,000 residents are affected by the storms. “I cannot remember such a major tragedy in the recent history of Bahia,” wrote Governor Rui Costa on Twitter.
“The world is ending here in southern Bahia and nobody sees us,” complained the 24-year-old Lorena Vicente in the newspaper “O Globo” about the situation in the state. Her parents had lost everything in the floods, added the young woman.
“We will work very hard to repair the damage,” promised Governor Costa, who declared a state of emergency for 72 cities and towns in the sprawling state. Bahia is roughly the size of France in terms of area.
Around 60 Brazilian towns are flooded after heavy rain
daily news 9:00 a.m., December 27th, 2021
Rescue efforts continue
The governor made it clear: “The priority right now is to save lives.” Helicopters and boats would be used for this purpose, he said when visiting affected areas. The military are also helping. Costa himself shared a video on Twitter showing a man being rescued from the roof of a house by helicopter. According to the information, he had punched a hole through the roof tiles from the inside.
In the city of Itabuna, neighbors rescued a 102-year-old from her house with the help of air mattresses, local media reported. “The water rose so much that it came into the apartment through the stairs,” the woman’s nephew told reporters. The level of the river Cachoeira has risen in the area by up to ten meters.
Fears of further dam breaks
Bahia has been hit by several severe storms since November, which not only flooded entire stretches of land, but also triggered landslides. Two dams broke in the region on Christmas weekend. The administrations of the municipalities of Itambé and Jussiape called on the residents on social media to get to safety.
Around ten other dams are now being inspected more closely in the region, the media reported, citing the fire brigade. In a dam disaster in Brumadinho, Brazil, in the state of Minas Gerais, at least 260 people were killed by a mudslide in early 2019.
The level of the river Cachoeira is now going back a little, tweeted Governor Costa. The all-clear could not yet be given, it was said in media reports, citing meteorologists: It is expected that the rains will continue for another week.