January 28, 2020 / 2:49 PM / 25 days ago

Death toll from flooding in Brazil mining state rises to 52

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The death toll from last week’s heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has risen to 52 people, with 65 people reported injured and two more missing, the state civil defense agency said on Tuesday.

The losses were most concentrated in the state capital, Belo Horizonte, with 13 dead, according to the latest numbers.

Some 33,000 people have been displaced or evacuated from their homes, rescue workers said.

Last week, Minas Gerais recorded the wettest 24-hour period since precipitation records began being kept 110 years ago, with accumulated rainfall of 172mm (6.8 inches) from Thursday to Friday, according to the government’s meteorological agency Inmet.

Televised images on Tuesday showed collapsed houses and others that had been submerged in 2 meters (6.6 feet) of water, while residents continue to battle thick mud after heavy rain.

The flooding comes a year after rains allegedly contributed to the collapse of a tailings dam in the town of Brumadinho, also in Minas Gerais, killing more than 250 people in one of the world’s worst mining disasters.

The National Mining Agency (ANM) alerted mining companies on Monday to carefully monitor their tailings dams through Friday due to the heavy rainfall.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis

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