Brazil Dams on Watch After Flooding Kills at Least 18 in Northeast
(Bloomberg) -- Ten water dams are being monitored for risk of bursting in Brazil after heavy rains in the country’s northeast killed at least 18 people and forced over 16,000 more to flee their homes in what local authorities are calling the worst flooding in decades.
Weeks of torrential rain caused two rivers to overflow and break through two dams in the state of Bahia over the Christmas weekend. As of Sunday, authorities had declared a state of emergency in 72 cities with flood waters reaching as high as 10 meters in the south of state.
Bahia fire fighters are watching 10 dams across the state as rains are forecast to continue over the next few days, O Globo newspaper reported.
“It’s a very sad scene,” Bahia Governor Rui Costa said in an address on Sunday. “Many, many homes, city centers have been overtaken by water.”
While Brazil’s rainy season regularly strains infrastructure, downpours have been particularly harsh this year and follow a series of extreme weather events including forest fires, drought and cold snaps. The flooding comes after Brazil endured its worst drought in a century that decimated harvests across the nation and left hydroelectric power plants without enough water to work at full capacity.
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