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Brazil Dams on Watch After Flooding Kills at Least 18 in Northeast

  • Two dams burst in state of Bahia after weeks of heavy rain
  • Extreme weather has caused drought, frost decimated crops
Men use an inflatable mattress to navigate flood waters in Itapetinga, Bahia State, Brazil.
Men use an inflatable mattress to navigate flood waters in Itapetinga, Bahia State, Brazil.Photographer: Manuella Luana/AFP/Getty Images
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Ten water dams are being monitored for risk of bursting in Brazil after heavy rains in the country’s northeast killed at least 18 people and forced over 16,000 more to flee their homes in what local authorities are calling the worst flooding in decades. 

Weeks of torrential rain caused two rivers to overflow and break through two dams in the state of Bahia over the Christmas weekend. As of Sunday, authorities had declared a state of emergency in 72 cities with flood waters reaching as high as 10 meters in the south of state.