At least 12 people lost their lives while nine others remain missing after major floods and landslides hit the Vale do Itajai region in Santa Catarina, Brazil, on Thursday, December 17, 2020. Officials said up to 1 600 people have been affected by the critical situation as "everything was destroyed," including houses and vehicles, with floodwaters reaching up to people's shoulders.
"The situation in Presidente Getulio is critical due to the floods: houses, vehicles, everything destroyed, people with water up to their shoulders," said Alex Lima, the head of the fire department.
In Presidente Getulio, at least 11 people lost their lives in floods, while seven others were missing. The inundations came following 125 mm (5 inches) of rain in a 24 hour period to December 17.
According to the Civil Defense, about 1 600 people have been affected, with 284 displaced. A state of emergency has been declared shortly.
Tempestade em Santa Catarina: Chuva provoca mortes e estragos no Vale do Itajaí— UOL (@UOL) December 17, 2020
Imagens publicadas nas redes sociais mostram enxurradas e alagamentos nas ruas de Presidente Getúlio. Uma ponte que passa sobre o Rio Ferro ficou destruída por causa da força da água pic.twitter.com/QLY96i6e9D
The latest fatality occurred in Ibirama, where 80 people have been evacuated. Two others were reported missing in Rio do Sul, where up to 90 mm (3.5 inches) of rain fell in a 24 hour period. At least 36 people have been displaced.
Roads, bridges, and infrastructure have been damaged, particularly in the municipalities of Aurora, Apiúna, Ascurra in the Vale do Itajai region, along with areas of Sul Catarinense and Florianópolis regions.
The Civil Defense, along with police and fire service said they are working in the affected area to provide assistance for victims. Evacuations are also being conducted, as well as search and rescue operations.
Featured image credit: Civil Defence Santa Catarina