Flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains in southern Brazil have claimed at least six lives over the past week, authorities said on Sunday.

The fatalities occurred in the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, and major property damage in the latter was reported as thousands of people sheltered in gymnasiums, deputy governor Gabriel Souza said on X.Several towns in Rio Grande do Sul were flooded when the Taquari River overflowed its banks.

In one of them, Roca Sales, dozens of volunteers worked on Sunday to clear streets blocked by a brown mess of mud and debris left by the river, an AFP journalist observed. Some streets were completely covered with mud, and trees were torn down.

Southern Brazil has been hit hard in recent months by extreme weather events such as torrential rain and a cyclone in September that left more than 50 people dead. Experts say climate change is fueling many of these disasters.

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