A cyclone leaves at least 13 dead and four missing in southern Brazil | International

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View of the city of São Leopoldo, in southern Brazil, after the passage of the cyclone.DIEGO VARA (REUTERS)

At least 13 people have died and four are still missing as a result of the passage of an extratropical cyclone through the Brazilian state of Rio Grandedo, in the south of the country. The last two deceased have been located this Sunday in the municipality of Caraá, where the rescue teams continue the searches to find the residents reported missing by Civil Protection. The strong storm unleashed by the cyclone forced the evacuation of thousands of people in around 40 municipalities, also in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, on the border with Uruguay and Argentina, where damage has also been reported from torrential rains.

The passage of the cyclone has left a trail of destruction in the coastal region, causing landslides, floods, power outages in thousands of homes and serious damage to infrastructure and communication routes. The Brazilian Army has mobilized to support rescue efforts in some of the hardest-hit cities. Among the fatalities there is a four-month-old baby who died of suffocation in the municipality of São Sebastião do Caí and could not receive attention from the emergency services because the place where he was found was isolated. Also in São Leopoldo some neighborhoods have been isolated by the floods.

The cyclone unleashed heavy rains in a short period of time and was accompanied by winds of over 80 kilometers per hour. The number of disappeared reached twenty during the afternoon of Saturday, but it has been reduced in the last hours, after the Brazilian authorities located several alive, according to the latest official bulletin.

“Our main goal, right now, is to protect and save lives. Rescue the people who are isolated, locate the disappeared and give all the support to the families,” said the governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Eduardo Leite, in statements to journalists. Leite flew over the most affected areas this Saturday in the company of the ministers Paulo Pimenta, from the Social Communication Secretariat of the Presidency, and Antônio Waldez Góes, from Integration and Regional Development. The two ministers underlined the commitment of the Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to provide "full support" and "provide a rapid response" to the communities affected by the cyclone. Last February, 37 people died from floods and landslides caused by heavy rains north of São Paulo.

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