Brazil floods kill nine

Goalposts stand in a soccer field flooded by the waters of the Paraguay River in Asuncion on May 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Goalposts stand in a soccer field flooded by the waters of the Paraguay River in Asuncion on May 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Flooding caused by torrential rains over the weekend has killed at least nine people and left three missing in southern Brazil, officials said on Monday, declaring an emergency in 77 towns.

The flood-hit areas include the state of Parana, whose capital, Curitiba, is one of the 12 host cities for the World Cup, which opens on Thursday. 

The worst-affected areas however are located around 300 kilometres from Curitiba.

More than 55,000 people’s homes were flooded in the 77 towns where Parana Governor Beto Richa declared a state of emergency.

Richa announced six million reais (S$3.4 million) in emergency aid to help victims and to restore water and electricity supplies.

President Dilma Rousseff promised via Twitter to get “all necessary support” to victims.

The celebrated Iguazu waterfalls, some of the largest in the world, saw 30 times their normal volume Monday because of the rains – 47.5 million litres per second, said state power company Copel.

The national park around the falls, which border Argentina, has closed footbridges and suspended boat tours for safety reasons.

In the neighboring state of Santa Catarina, 24 cities were flooded and at least 16,000 people affected.

The Itajai Acu river was 10 metres higher than normal, and nine roads were closed.

And in Rio Grande do Sul state, the rains caused a 70-metre road cave-in that swallowed two cars. The passengers escaped with light injuries, news website G1 reported.