Rescue operations in flooded southern Brazil continue

Rains continue to inundate southern Brazil and cause new suffering for flood victims.

So far, 136 people have been confirmed dead.

"Many people see the rain and are traumatized. We saw how scared people were," said Ennio Posti, a firefighter in Porto Alegre, the capital of the hard-hit state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Heavy rains last week caused rivers to overflow in the agricultural state, leaving 806 injured and 125 missing in addition to the dead, the civil defense agency said.

Of the more than two million people affected by the floods, more than 537,000 have been forced from their homes and 81,000 are in shelters.

According to data from the National Confederation of Municipalities, more than 92,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

UN experts and the Brazilian government blame climate change and the El Niño weather phenomenon for the crisis.

The new rainfall is expected to be the heaviest today and tomorrow, and state authorities have warned of the risk of further rising waters and landslides, AFP reported.

"We are still experiencing an emergency," Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leyte said in an Instagram video.

Residents were told to stay away from flooded areas, with dangers including electrocution from downed power lines.

“I was drenched. They helped me and gave me clothes," said Everton Machado, 36, after being rescued by boat while searching for his parents. /BGNES