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Dramatic rescues in Brazil amid flooding, landslides

STORY: A dramatic moment captured on video as Brazilian firefighters rescued children and their families trapped by floods from rooftops on Thursday.

Heavy rains have been pounding the country’s south, causing water to surge to deadly levels and triggering landslides.

Here in the state of Santa Catarina, the Civil Defence said some 880 people were evacuated from their homes after rains turned streets to rivers.

But many residents were left stranded, awaiting rescue.

Local media showed footage of rescuers risking hazardous conditions to pluck people out of chest-deep waters.

Authorities reported at least two deaths and one missing person on Thursday.

The governor of Santa Catarina said authorities believe the missing military firefighter fell into a river with a strong current.

He said search operations were underway, but added the conditions made it very difficult.

At least 17 cities across Santa Catarina have declared a state of emergency.

In the neighboring state of ParanaNrescue teams worked with a sniffer dog to find survivors buried by landslides on Thursday.

Dozens of people were missing, with fire officials confirming at least two casualties.

The landslides have also cut off access to a major port for grains and sugar shipments,

authorities said.

Brazil’s northeast is also reeling from the bad weather, as officials confirmed at least one death.

Local media on Thursday showed people’s flood-damaged homes and washed-away roads in the coastal state of Sergipe.

Devastating floods are common across Brazil at this time of the year.

Still, authorities in the south said rainfall was higher than what was forecast for December - in some regions up to six times more.