Hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted by sustained and heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Bahia, which caused severe flooding and the failure of two dams at the weekend.
The region has been plagued by rain-induced floods and avalanches for weeks now. Since November, 18 people have died and almost 20,000 have lost their homes, local media report citing data from the civil protection service.
Almost 290 people have been reported injured and around 430,000 people are affected by the crisis.
“I cannot recall such a great tragedy in Bahia in recent memory,” Bahia governor Rui Costa said after visiting the city of Itabuna and nearby municipality Itajuipe, two of the hardest-hit areas.
Around 60 municipalities are under water following the latest deluge.
Two dams broke at the weekend, local authorities confirmed, calling on residents living nearby to find safety.
Costa said on Twitter that helicopters and boats were deployed to rescue people.
In early 2019, at least 260 people lost their lives when a dam in Brumadinho in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais collapsed and triggered a mudslide.