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Before and after: Images from space reveal submerged airport runway and football field in devastating Brazil floods

By Paul P. Murphy and Rob Picheta, CNN

(CNN) — The extent of the devastation of floods that are ravaging southern Brazil have been laid bare in new and dramatic satellite images shared with CNN.

At least 95 people have died in the heavy rainfall and floods that have torn through the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where storms have affected more than 1 million people in 385 municipalities, according to the civil defense.

More than 150,000 people have been displaced by the floods, which have struck along the region’s Taquari and Cai Rivers, overflowing with water, gushing well beyond their banks.

In one of the images, from Maxar Technologies, an entire neighborhood of homes in the northern part of Porto Alegre, the state capital, lies largely underwater. Roads have turned to muddy rivers, and vast fields are brown with floodwaters.

At the Salgado Filho International Airport in the capital, the runways and roads are entirely submerged — only buildings remain above water.

The record rainfall has been linked to El Niño, a natural climate phenomenon that warms waters in the Pacific and tends to bring heavy rainfall to southern Brazil. Long-term global warming caused primarily by humans burning fossil fuels has also exacerbated extreme weather in the region.

Rio Grande do Sul — Brazil’s southernmost state, and until recently a tranquil agricultural region — has seen repeatedly extreme weather events in recent years.

In the capital’s central area, the Gremio Arena football stadium, which seats 55,000 people, is surrounded by floodwaters, its pitch entirely submerged.

The Brazilian Football Confederation postponed matches involving teams from Rio Grande do Sul until May 27. Brazilian football star Neymar Jr. posted on Instagram an image of a plane parked alongside pallets of supplies, including bottled water, which he said was from himself and his father.

He wrote: “Our Brazil is going through a difficult time and helping is NEVER too much, regardless of your financial situation, what matters is what you carry in your heart.”

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva sent Congress a legislative decree to speed up the transfer of resources to the area on Tuesday.

More than 46,000 people have been rescued from the waters in a mass operation involving some 15,000 personnel, the federal government said.

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CNNEE’s Mauricio Torres and CNN’s Michael Rios and Julia Vargas Jones contributed reporting

Article Topic Follows: CNN-Weather/Environment

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