What’s Up With The Weather? Brazil Dam Collapses Killing 30, Many Missing.

Photo: Public domain. A waterfall in full flow in Brazil. RIvers can provide immense power, but sometimes it is too much for the dams that feed water to hydro-electric power stations.
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A hydroelectric dam has collapsed in southern Brazil after days of heavy rains that caused massive flooding, killing more than 30 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands without power or clean water, according to reports from the BBC.

This comes just days after a similar dam collapse in Kenya following heavy rains that also caused substantial loss of life and must raise questions about the safety and durability of hydro-electric dams worldwide.

Hydro-electric power harnesses the power of rivers flowing downhill to drive turbines, and is regarded as one of the cleanest forms of energy generation as it does not cause pollution by burning fuel.

Local officials say another 60 people are missing in Rio Grande do Sul state, so the final death toll can be expect to be greater.

The burst dam triggered a two-metre wave, similar to an inland tidal wave, causing panic and further damage in the already flooded areas.

The dam is located between the municipality of Cotiporã and the city of Bento Gonçalves.

The extreme weather has been caused by a rare combination of hotter than average temperatures, high humidity and strong winds.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has visited the region, promising help from the central government.

Earlier, state Governor Eduardo Leite pleaded for urgent assistance, saying that “we need to rescue hundreds of people in dozens of municipalities”.

Helicopters have been deployed to search for stranded people.

In some areas, the flooding is so severe that helicopters have been unable to land and have had to winch residents to safety.

In the Candelária municipality, residents took to the roofs of their homes as their houses filled with water.

Meteorologists have predicted further rains to fall in the region as a cold front moves across it.

Last year, more than 30 people were killed in a cyclone in Rio Grande do Sul.

Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology attributed the increased intensity and frequency of rainfall to the climate phenomenon El Niño.

Source: BBC.

 

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