Floods after days of driving rain have killed at least 39 people in northeastern Brazil, and left 1,000 unaccounted for and another 100,000 people homeless.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called a crisis cabinet meeting today and said the government would make federal funds available to help the homeless. Civil defense officials in devastated Alagoas state said the Mundau River burst its banks in the town of Uniao dos Palmares, leaving at least 500 people unaccounted for there.
‘Pernambuco state's rivers all run out through Alagoas. Swollen as they were they devastated cities’, a distraught Vilela explained. The torrents swept away more than 40,000 houses, entire bridges and streets, as well as rail lines in 22 towns across Alagoas. The air force so far has sent in five helicopters.