A powerful cyclone has killed at least 13 people and forced thousands from their homes in southern Brazil, according to authorities. The cyclone struck the state of Rio Grande do Sul on Thursday and Friday, bringing torrential rain and strong winds that caused damage in dozens of towns, including the state capital Porto Alegre.
Among the victims was a four-month-old baby, who died when a car was swept into a cemetery by the floodwaters. Other people were rescued by boats or helicopters from their flooded houses. Some 84,000 people were still without power on Sunday, and nearly 5,000 had their homes damaged or destroyed.
The state governor Eduardo Leite visited the worst-affected areas by helicopter on Saturday and pledged to provide assistance and support to the affected communities. He said the situation was “very worrying” and called for a coordinated response from the federal and local governments.
The cyclone was the latest in a series of weather-related disasters that have hit Brazil this year. In February, at least 65 people died when heavy rain triggered floods and landslides in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo. Experts say that climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of such extreme events in the country.