Brazil – Deadly Floods and Landslides in Bahia After Heavy Rain

Update: Flooding in Bahia worsened from 09 December. The federal government recognized a state of emergency in 24 municipalities in Bahia, as of 13 December. State news agency Agência Brasil reported 10 fatalities, 21,570 displaced and at least 220,000 affected.

Original report: Parts of Bahia State in northeastern Brazil have seen heavy rain since mid-November 2021. At least 5 people have died and hundreds of homes have been damaged by flooding and landslides across several municipalities.

Flood damage in Itaberaba, Bahia, Brazil. Photo: Prefeitura de Itaberaba

Itaberaba municipality in Bahia has suffered some of the worst of the damage. Authorities declared a local state of emergency on 10 November. In a 48 hour period Itaberaba recorded more than 300 mm of rain, which is the equivalent normally seen during the whole of a typical November.

Further flooding caused severe damage on 27 November 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and 2 people died. Local authorities reported 44 homeless families and a further 103 people affected.

Flood damage in Itaberaba, Bahia, Brazil. Photo: Prefeitura de Itaberaba

More recently, southern parts of the state have experienced heavy rain, in particular Itamaraju municipality where 3 people from the same family died and at least six houses collapsed after a landslide 08 December. Access to the site was difficult hindering rescue operations. Civil Defence said 2,152 people in 538 homes were exposed to landslide risk in the area.

Flooding struck in the city of Jucuruçu on 07 December, after the Gado Bravo and Jucuruçu rivers broke their banks. Hundreds of homes were inundated and residents evacuated due to flood damage and threat of landslides.

Buildings collapsed after heavy rain from late 07 December in Teixeira de Freitas and Porto Seguro municipalities. No injuries were reported. However one person was injured after part of a building collapsed in Eunápolis. Meanwhile in Prado municipality, roads were cut by floods in coastal areas, leaving around 5,000 residents of Cumuruxatiba isolated.

Authorities in Itamaraju and Porto Seguro have declared a local state of emergency. State Governor Rui Costa has promised aid and relief to the victims and has deployed teams from fire service, civil defence and military to affected areas.

“As soon as I learned of the tragedies caused by the storms, I determined that the state agencies carry out the necessary surveys and give all possible support to the affected municipalities. I sympathize with the victims’ relatives and friends,” he said.

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