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Historic floods kill 83, leaving Brazil and its president shaken, angry

The airport is shut down. Dozens of highways have been blocked. Most in the state capital are without running water. The death toll is already at 83 - and sure to climb higher.

Even in a country increasingly inured to natural disasters driven by climate change, the flooding that has swallowed Rio Grande do Sul, one of Brazil's most developed and prosperous states, has badly shaken this nation of 215 million. With more than half the cities in the state dealing with floodwaters and 20,000 people left homeless, Rio Grande do Sul hasn't been just damaged. It has been crippled.

"This is the worst disaster ever registered in the state of Rio Grande do Sul," Gov. Eduardo Leite said. "Perhaps one of the worst disasters that the country has registered in recent history."


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