by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Sept 9, 2011
Torrential rains that caused record flooding in southern Brazil reportedly killed three people and force more than 63,000 residents to evacuate their homes, officials said Friday.
Three days of continuous downpours have had a severe impact in southern Santa Catarina state, with authorities declaring 32 cities in a state of emergency, and two -- Brusque and Rio do Sul in a state of public calamity.
Some towns were almost entirely under water as the Itajai-Acu river rose to record levels.
The Civil Defense agency said the flooding had affected nearly 790,000 people in 60 municipalities, and warned of a risk of landslides after rains left the ground waterlogged.
At 2100 GMT Friday Santa Catarina state Civil Defense officials said that at least one person had died. Local news reports however said that three people had been killed.
Due to the emergency classes were suspended in the cities of Blumenau, Gaspar, Itajai and Rio do Sul. Some of the schools were turned into temporary shelters.
Three years ago 150 people were killed in massive flooding in southern Brazil.
The water levels were in marked contrast to the severe drought and forest fires in central-west regions of the South American country.
Much of Brasilia was experiencing heavy smoke levels due to wildfires sparked by high temperatures and unusually long spells without rain -- at this point around three months around the federal capital.
"We have not had such a low level of humidity (in Brasilia) since 1960," a regional Civil Defense official told AFP.
Over the past 24 hours alone "there have been 50 fires, and we have 500 firefighters working," Major Mauro Sergio of the Brasilia firefighters told AFP.
Smoke was so heavy over parts of the capital that some schools were forced to close early.
"I've been living in Brasilia for 40 years, and I've never seen anything like this," long-time resident Edson Barroso told AFP.
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Deadly floods hit US northeast in wake of Irene
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (AFP) Sept 9, 2011
Heavy rain on Thursday swamped areas of the US northeast already sodden from Hurricane Irene, with up to five people killed as flash floods forced over 100,000 to leave their homes. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood warning for counties in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, as towns became inundated, busy highways closed down and com ... read more
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