Authorities are still trying to gauge the extent of death and destruction caused by torrential floods that swept the city of Recife and surrounding area in Brazil.
View of Recife, River Capibaribe, Vista bridge
C.U. Boa Vista Bridge and Capibaribe River
People standing on street near bridge
Roaring river, bridge above (side angle)
Trucks and flooded streets by river
People walking near homes; water to knees
More homes and people
Truck stuck in street
Street full of water, people on edge
Side angle, city of Victoria, river rushing by
Homes, furniture in street, people
C.U. damaged goods on street
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Background: Authorities are still trying to gauge the extent of death and destruction caused by torrential floods that swept the city of Recife and surrounding area in Brazil.
Because of the vastness of the area and the difficulty of communications, nobody knows exactly how many people perished. It may be weeks -- or never -- before a full count is complete.
When torrential tropical rains flood the basins of Brazil's huge rivers, in a matter of hours they become raging torrents which sweep everything before them -- men, women, children, cattle, wild animals in the jungle and houses, bridges or other structures that may be in the path of the surging water.
That's what happened over the weekend (starting June 12) in and around Recife, a city of one million population that is the capital of the State of Pernambuco. Preliminary estimates of loss of life run from 16 to over 30, with over 30,000 homeless.
But authorities said scores more could have lost their lives as their houses were swept away or their canoes and boats capsized.
At Recife, it was the Capibaribe River that spilled over its banks. Debris piled up around the supports for the Boa Vista Bridge, menacing the structure. People had to flee their houses, carrying whatever belongings they could manage. The same was true at the nearby city of Victoria de Santo Antao. Bridges and houses fell before the surging waters. A wall collapsed, killing 10 people. Soldiers had to be called out to patrol the cities and keep people away from dangerous areas.