Positive Caribbean and Latin America News: Daily Updates from News Americas

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

The content originally appeared on: Latin America News – Aljazeera

The death toll is rising as heavy rains continue to lash southern Brazil, driving floodwaters higher.

The storms and flooding in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul have killed at least 78 people, local authorities said on Sunday, with more than 115,000 people displaced.

Volunteers using boats, jet skis – and even swimming – have assisted in rescue efforts. In the state capital, Porto Alegre, Fabiano Saldanha said he and three friends used jet skis to save about 50 people from floodwaters since Friday.

The death toll could still increase significantly, with 105 people reported missing on Sunday, up from about 70 the prior day, according to the state civil defence authority. It also said it was investigating whether four more deaths were related to the storms.

Driven by the persistent heavy rains, flooding has affected more than two-thirds of the nearly 500 cities in the state, which borders Uruguay and Argentina, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, according to authorities.

Roads and bridges have been damaged in several cities. Rains have also triggered landslides and the partial collapse of a dam at a small hydroelectric power plant.

More than 400,000 people were without power on Sunday evening, while nearly a third of the state’s population was without water, authorities said.

In Porto Alegre, the Guaiba Lake breached its banks, hitting the highest water level on record, according to the Geological Survey of Brazil. The city’s international airport has suspended all flights since Friday.