At least 20 people have died, and thousands more remain displaced in Brazil after floods ripped through parts of the country.
Last month, Brazil suffered heavy rainfall that continued through the month and was expected to lessen last week. However, instead of easing, the downpour continued, leading to the collapse of two dams.
According to the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts of Natural Disasters, this is the heaviest period of rainfall for Bahia in the last 32 years.
CNN reports that more than 35,000 people were forced to flee their homes in search of safety on higher ground. Al Jazeera reports that 358 people were injured over the past month.
“This is a massive tragedy,” said Gov. Rui Costa of Bahia told the news outlet. “I can’t remember seeing anything like this in Bahia’s recent history, given the amount of cities and houses involved,” Costa continued. “It’s truly terrifying, there are so many houses and streets that are completely under water.”
Rescue teams have been gaining entry to Ilhéus, Itabuna, Irecê and a hundred other cities using boats and helicopters, while volunteers dispersed donations of food, mattresses and blankets for the worst-hit communities.
On Tuesday, at least four municipalities in Bahia received warnings to vacate their homes because of the increased flow of the Pardo River due to the opening of the Machado Mineiro dam’s sluice gates, according to the state government’s advisory office.
The disaster relief says there are also five additional dams in Bahia at risk of bursting.