Fierce storm in southern Brazil kills at least 21 people and displaces more than 1,600
Police officers check a house as residents wade through a flooded street after floods caused by a cyclone in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Monday, September 4, 2023. Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite said that about 60 cities had been battered by the storm, which was classified as an extratropical cyclone. (AP Photo/Diogo Zanatta-Futura Press)

SAO PAULO (AP) — At least 21 people died in southern Brazil due to a fierce storm that caused floods in several cities, authorities said Tuesday.

Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite said the death toll is the state’s highest due to a climate event. He said about 60 cities had been battered by the storm, which was classified as an extratropical cyclone.

Leite said 15 of the deaths occurred in one house in Mucum, a city of about 50,000 residents.

The Rio Grande do Sul state government said it had recorded 1,650 people made homeless since Monday night.

TV footage showed families on the top of their houses pleading for help as rivers overflowed their banks.

The city hall at Mucum recommended that residents seek out supplies to meet their needs for the next 72 hours.

The governor said one of the dead was a woman who was swept away during a rescue attempt.

“I regret the death of a woman in a rescue attempt over the Taquari river,” Leite said in his social media channels. “The wire broke, she and a rescuer fell. Unfortunately the woman did not survive and the rescuer was seriously injured.”

Rio Grande do Sul was hit by another extratropical cyclone in June, which killed 16 people and caused destruction in 40 cities, many of those around the state capital of Porto Alegre.

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