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Over 30 killed as hydroelectric dam collapse in Brazil

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A hydroelectric dam in southern Brazil collapsed following days of heavy rainfall, leading to massive flooding and a rising death toll. The incident, which occurred between the municipality of Cotiporã and the city of Bento Gonçalves, has left more than 30 people dead and another 60 missing in Rio Grande do Sul state.

The extreme weather conditions, including hotter temperatures, high humidity, and strong winds, contributed to the catastrophic flooding, displacing about 15,000 residents and affecting over 67,800 people in total. Over 500,000 people are now without power and clean water across the state.

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President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has visited the affected region, pledging assistance from the central government. State Governor Eduardo Leite has urgently requested aid, emphasizing the need to rescue hundreds of people in multiple municipalities.

Rescue efforts are underway, with helicopters deployed to search for stranded individuals. However, in some severely flooded areas, helicopters have struggled to land, forcing residents to be airlifted to safety.

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Meteorologists have forecasted additional rainfall in the region as a cold front moves across, raising concerns of further flooding. The death toll is expected to climb as recovery operations continue.

In addition to the collapsed dam, other hydroelectric plants face the risk of damage, and rivers are at risk of flooding. Authorities have advised residents near rivers and dams to evacuate, and numerous highways have been closed due to flooding and damage.

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The National Institute of Meteorology has issued red heavy rainfall warnings across most of Rio Grande do Sul and parts of Santa Catarina states, urging residents to remain vigilant. The increased intensity and frequency of rainfall have been attributed to the climate phenomenon El Niño.

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