Sao Paulo, Jun 18 (EFE).- The number of people killed due to the passage of an extra-tropical cyclone through the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul climbed to 13 on Sunday, while search and rescue efforts continued to locate the four missing in the region.
The number of missing had reached 20 on Saturday but was reduced in the last few hours after Brazilian authorities located several people, according to the latest Civil Defense bulletin.
On Sunday, rescue teams found two bodies in the city of Caraá, where they are still trying to locate the four missing people confirmed so far.
Among those killed by the cyclone is a four-month-old baby who died of asphyxiation in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao do Caí after emergency services failed to reach him due to flooding in the area.
About 4,500 people have been evacuated from their homes in around 40 municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul, a state bordering Uruguay and Argentina.
The passage of the cyclone has left a trail of destruction, causing landslides, floods, power outages in thousands of homes and damaging several roads and bridges.
The Brazilian army is supporting rescue efforts in some of the worst-hit cities, such as Sao Leopoldo, where some neighborhoods have been cut off by high water levels.
“Our main objective, at this time, is to protect and save human lives. Rescue people who are cut off, locate the missing and give all support to families,” Rio Grande do Sul’s Governor Eduardo Leite told reporters.
Leite flew over the worst affected areas on Sunday evening along with presidential communications secretary Paulo Pimenta and minister of integration and regional development, Antônio Waldez Góes.
Both ministers reiterated President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s commitment to provide “full support” and “give a quick response” to the municipalities affected by the cyclone, which was accompanied by intense rains in a short period of time and winds exceeding 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour). EFE