Brazil: Thousands cut off by severe floods

Published: 27 November 2008 0:00 CET

Sixty days of rain in Santa Catarina state have caused one of the worst disasters in Brazil’s history

Severe flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain are causing death and destruction across the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

The crisis has so far killed 84 people and displaced more than 55,000. The government has declared a state of emergency, activating civil protection measures and deploying the military to assist in rescue operations.

The Brazilian Red Cross’ Santa Catarina branch has mobilized all its volunteers to provide emergency relief to the people affected. The Brazilian Red Cross has also launched a nationwide fundraising campaign to help thousands of people who do not have access to food supplies and drinking water.

The heavy rains that have been falling for 60 days continue to hinder and impede access to several cities and flooded areas. This is considered one of the worst disasters in Brazil’s history. Red Cross volunteers and staff working in the area report that people are devastated after losing everything.

According to the information provided by civil protection services, the number of people killed or forced to flee their homes has already exceeded the number of victims of the 1983 floods, the worst on record until now. Floods in the 1980s claimed 49 lives and left around 198,000 people homeless in 90 municipalities in this same state.