The death toll from devastating floods in Brazil has risen to thirty-one, with more than sixteen thousand people left homeless.
The flooding began on January 2nd this year in the Parana and Santa Catarina states of Brazil, following persistent and heavy rain which caused several rivers to overflow. It is reported that the rain rose 10 m (33 ft) above the normal water levels, causing extensive flooding and destruction in the region.
The worst affected areas are the states of Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed, while roads, bridges and communication systems have been badly damaged.
At least thirty-one people are reported to have died since the flooding began. The death toll could rise further as authorities are still assessing the damage.
Close to 16,000 people are displaced and in need of immediate aid. According to the World Food Programme, approximately 350,000 people in the affected areas are in need of food assistance.
The Brazilian government is providing emergency aid to those affected by the floods and has vowed to rebuild homes and infrastructure. Numerous international aid organisations have also dispatched relief efforts to the region.
The flooding has also destroyed large swaths of farmland and damaged crops. Experts warn that the high death toll, destroyed property, and damage to crops may further impact the already struggling Brazilian economy.
In addition to the destruction caused by floods, experts also warn that local populations living in affected areas are at risk of contracting water-borne diseases.
It is a heartbreaking and challenging time for the people of Brazil. Our hearts are with the ones affected by this tragedy and we hope for a speedy recovery.