By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Residents of Xanxerê, located in the Southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina are receiving help from Brazil’s army corps to remove debris left behind from Monday’s tornado. The unusual phenomenon ripped through houses, leaving two dead, 120 wounded and at least one thousand without homes.
According to Santa Catarina’s civil defense department more than 2,600 buildings and homes suffered some kind of damage during the incident and at least ten thousand residents have been affected.
Statements by officials report many homes remain with no electricity or running water. Non-governmental groups are gathering donations, including mattresses, blankets, fresh water and food for those who have lost their homes.
According to the city’s Military Police Department, dozens of people were taken to hospitals in the region, including two children in serious conditions. The federal government announced on Tuesday it will allocate federal funds to the city government to help rebuild damaged homes and buildings.
The National Meteorological Institute (INMET) stated that the strong winds that hit Xanxerê travelled at speeds from 100 km/hour to 330 km/hour. Tornados are rare in Brazil, according to meteorologists, but in this region, where the country borders Argentina and Uruguay, there are what are called super-cells storms characterized by very high winds. These high winds sometimes develop into tornados, as seen Monday in Xanxerê.