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Death toll rises to 151 due to storms in southern Brazilian state

Brasilia, May 16 (Prensa Latina) The death toll rose today to 151 and 104 the number of people missing due to the heavy rains and floods that have devastated the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul since the end of April.

According to the new Civil Defense report, due to the storms there are also 806 injured people in the region, 77,199 people remain in shelters and another 538,164 are staying with relatives or friends.

In total, 2,281,774 residents are reported to have been affected by the tragedy, which to date has affected 458 of the 497 municipalities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The day before, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva confirmed in the territory, which he visited for the third time in two weeks, the creation of the so-called Extraordinary Secretariat of the Presidency to Support the Reconstruction of Rio Grande do Sul.

The federal deputy Paulo Pimenta will be the head of that office, with ministerial status, and, for that purpose, he will leave the post of chief minister of the Secretariat of Social Communication.

“What has been announced here today is the most important support plan for a catastrophe situation in the history of this country. (…) I accept this mission for which I was appointed by the President”, Pimenta said.