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Thousands evacuated from homes as southern Brazil is swamped by heavy rain

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Updated: 12:33 GMT, Jul 21, 2015 | Published: 04:27 GMT, Jul 21, 2015 |
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Thousands of people were forced from their homes in southern Brazil as torrential rain dumped almost a month’s worth of precipitation on parts of the region in just one day. A waterlogged weekend seeped into Monday (July 20) with more rain wreaking havoc on the already drenched area.

The civil defence put the number of people affected by the stormy weather to more than 47,000 with more than 2,700 people evacuated from their homes. The city of Gravatai, just outside southern hub Porto Alegre, was one of the hardest hit. City and state officials helped evacuate people in the shovel of a bulldozer as neighbours pitched in to help people flee the rising waters in small boats. 

One woman, Jurema Lopes, who works as a custodian for the city, told local outlet Bandeirantes she did not want to leave her home for fear it would be vulnerable to thieves. “You work your whole life just to lose it all,” Lopes said.

Sunday (July 19) saw the heaviest rain with 113 millimeters (4.45 inches) falling in some areas in just 24 hours. The month of July averages about 140 millimeters (5.5 inches). Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, was also badly flooded.

City and state governments were calling on people to donate clothing, bedding and other supplies for victims taking shelter in area schools and other public buildings. The cold front passing through the area also brought chilly weather to the area and is expected to finally pass on Tuesday (July 21). Forecasts expect more rain on Tuesday followed by drier conditions on Wednesday after the front passes.