Governor Eduardo Leite announced in the middle of the afternoon this Tuesday (5) that the number of deaths due to the extratropical cyclone that hit the state has now reached 21 people. The Civil Defense of Rio Grande do Sul found 15 bodies in the same house during an inspection of the city of Muçum in Rio Grande do Sul.
The city of Muçum is located in the Taquari River Valley, which reached more than 29 meters above normal in the afternoon.
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The number of deaths exceeded that recorded in June this year, when 16 people lost their lives due to the extratropical cyclone. This is the fourth severe weather event to hit the state since June. As of early Tuesday afternoon (5), Civil Defense registered 62 municipalities affected.
People on the roofs of houses were being rescued from helicopters and Leite also announced that in addition to the Gaucho government aircraft, helicopters from the Navy and the Army had come into operation.
The Federal Highway Police and the Brazilian Army also provided aircraft and vessels for rescue actions. Service will be reinforced in the Vale do Taquari region, one of the most affected areas. Helicopters are rescuing people seen on trees and rooftops, as well as patients stranded in hospitals – as occurred in the city of Roca Sales, where ten people were rescued and taken to Estrela hospital.
Leite said that he is in constant contact with the Civil Defense and the mayors of the affected cities and that, as soon as possible, he will travel to the affected areas in order to monitor the work and guarantee all the necessary support to families and municipalities in the reconstruction actions.
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Ministers visit areas hit by storm
With the aim of bringing help from the federal government to the people of Rio Grande do Sul affected by the storm, and as determined by President Lula, the minister of Secom, Paulo Pimenta, the minister of Integration and Regional Development, Waldez Góes, and the National Secretary of Protection and Civil Defense, Wolnei Aparecido Wolff, will come to Rio Grande do Sul this Wednesday morning (6).
The delegation of ministers embarks at 6 am from Brasília and is expected to arrive at 8:30 am in Caxias do Sul. The ministers will visit the areas most affected by the storm in Rio Grande do Sul, flying over the municipalities most affected by the rains.
Check out the itinerary
8am – Landing at Hugo Cantergiani Airport in Caxias do Sul/RS
Address: Av. Salgado Filho, 3451 – Salgado Filho, Caxias do Sul/RS
8:30 am – Takeoff, by helicopter, from Caxias do Sul to Encantado/RS
Flights over the affected regions in the municipalities:
8:30 am – Landing in the Municipality of Encantado/RS
Location: to be confirmed
10am – Visit to shelters in the municipality
11am – Press Conference
Location: to be confirmed
12pm – Meeting with Mayors of the region and Civil Defense
Location: to be confirmed
The number of people affected throughout Rio Grande do Sul is estimated at 25,734. In addition to the 21 deaths, another 2,984 people are homeless, 1,650 are homeless and 66 cities in Rio Grande do Sul were affected. Santa Catarina was also hit by storms and gusts of wind, and one person died in the state of Santa Catarina.
The state recorded hail, strong winds and storms, with associated disruptions (such as flash floods and floods). The damage occurred mainly in the Vales region, in the North and in the Serra Gaúcha. The Taquari River reached the flood level in Muçum, Roca Sales, Lajeado, Estrela, Arroio do Meio, Encantado and Colinas. In almost all of these municipalities, families were removed preventively.
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Civil Defense is continuously monitoring the situation in river basins. At the moment, Taquari remains above the flood level at the Muçum, Encantado and Estrela stations. The Caí River exceeded this level in São Sebastião do Caí and Montenegro.
In addition to serving the population, the government is working to unblock blocked access. In some municipalities there are submerged or closed bridges. The floods also caused the collapse of the bridge that connects Farroupilha to Nova Roma, with one of the heads collapsing.
According to Civil Defense, the forecast is that the rains will cease this Tuesday, returning on Wednesday with storms and high temperatures accumulated across the border region with Argentina and Campanha Gaucha. On Thursday, the rains will continue to affect the southern half of the state, with conditions for disruption due to high volumes of rain. The tendency is that, on Friday, instabilities will advance over the other regions with occasional heavy rains.
Hospital on alert
The Divina Providência Health Network (RSDP) informs that the access situation to its hospitals Estrela, in Estrela, and São José, in Arroio do Meio, is critical.
Hospital Estrela (HE) is on alert. The overflow of the Taquari River is causing water to rise through the sewage channel. HE is working to prevent this situation from reaching the hospital substation, which would cause the institution’s power to be turned off. Elective surgeries were suspended in HE today (5). Furthermore, access to the hospital is limited due to the high water level in the surrounding area. We request that medical care be sought only in extreme urgency.
The São José Hospital (HSJ) located in Arroio do Meio had its elective consultations and surgeries suspended today (5) and tomorrow (6). The hospital is without electricity and water. At this time, the institution needs donations of adult clothing. Donations will be collected at HSJ.
As soon as the situations are normalized, you will be informed through official channels.
Other rivers are also rising
In other regions the rivers also began to rise quickly, this is the case of the Uruguay River, which on Tuesday afternoon reached the mark of 8 meters above normal, in São Borja, the Ibirapuitã River, in Alegrete it already reached seven meters of the quota. Although they have not yet directly affected people, city halls have already started to provide shelters for riverside residents, as the waters continued to rise.
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24 state roads have already been found to have total and partial closures in Vale do Taquari. Two bridges were destroyed by the rains, on ERS-448, between Farroupilha and Nova Roma do Sul, and on ERS-431, in Bento Gonçalves, on the border with São Valentim do Sul.
Blocking points on federal highways
BR 290, km 9.5 in Osório, towards the coast/capital, right lane and shoulder closed due to the accumulation of water on the road.
BR 386, km 354, in Estrela (Ponte do Arroio Estrela) traffic completely blocked.
BR 386 km 339, in Lajeado side lane closed towards crescent (area of duplication works) – traffic flowing along the main road.
BR 386 km 349, in Estrela (Ponte do Rio Taquari) lane completely closed for safety reasons
BR 116, Km 181, in Nova Petrópolis (at traffic lights), completely closed for security reasons;
BR 116, Km 96, in São Marcos, Rio das Antas bridge, completely closed for security reasons;
BR 116, km 160.7 in Caxias do Sul, land and vegetation on the shoulder and part of the crescent strip, location marked with cones;
BR 116, km 214, in Morro Reuter, towards capital/interior on half-lane, due to barrier collapse, location marked with cones;
BR 285, Km 332, in Carazinho, lane partially blocked, barrier falling to the shoulder. Signposted location.
BR 470, km 143, in Nova Prata (Ponte do Rio da Prata), lane closed for heavy vehicles (opened only for light vehicles)
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Katia Marko