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Brazil: Dams give way as heavy rain swamps northeast

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Brasília, Dec 27: Brazilian authorities issued warnings of flash floods after two dams in the northeast of the country burst on Sunday.

The Igua dam which is situated on the Verruga River in the state of Bahia collapsed on Saturday night, forcing the evacuation of residents of the town of Itambe.

Brazil: Dams give way as heavy rain swamps northeast

"A dam with a high volume of water has broken and a strong flash flood is expected to affect the municipality of Itambe in a few moments. All residents should evacuate from the banks of the river Verruga urgently,'' city authorities posted on social media.

Then on Sunday morning, a second dam broke in Jussiape, leading to authorities to renew calls to move to safety. State Governor Rui Costa has been overseeing relief efforts and said the task at had is to get people to safety.

Emergency efforts under way

In Vitoria da Conquista, situated close to the collapsed Igua dam, Mayor Sheila Lemos said all residents located near the dam had been evacuated.

While there have been no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, the flood waters have damaged infrastructure in the area, including roads and bridges.

Federal and state authorities have joined forces to help cope with the the floods. Equipment and aircraft along with supplies have been made available.

Brazil: Dams give way as heavy rain swamps northeast

Rescue teams have been reaching trapped residents in dinghies and have also been delivering supplies.

Emergency teams rescued residents who had been trapped in the city of Itabuna, after parts of the downtown area were flooded with water.

"It's crazy by the bridge, there are waves almost 2 meters high," shopkeeper Luiz Constancia told Reuters news agency.

Thousands forced from their homes

Heavy rain has been lashing the region, causing rivers to burst their banks and towns to be flooded. Thousands of people have been displaced in Bahia state as a result.

According to the Bahia state government, flooding has killed 18 people while 72 cities have been affected since November.

December rainfall figures are already six times greater than the average in the state capital of Salvador, weather officials said.

Source: DW

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