Severe flooding continues to impact people in southern Brazil

People in southern Brazil continue to be affected by severe flooding caused by heavy rains that have been pummeling the region since late April.

Authorities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul say 169 people have been confirmed dead and 44 people are unaccounted for as of Wednesday.

Wide regions of the state capital Porto Alegre have been submerged for over 20 days. A large number of residents have been forced to evacuate for an extended period of time.

Many people of Japanese descent live in the area. The office of an association that offers medical house-call services for Japanese-Brazilians was under 3 meters of floodwater at one point. Located in the northern part of the city, it is currently swamped by 1 meter.

The association's vice president, Hiwatashi Milton, who is second-generation Japanese-Brazilian, used a boat to visit the office for the first time since the flooding began.

Milton said association members feel "very sad" because they have probably lost everything in the office.

Disaster-hit areas are seeking aid from the international community amid growing concerns over security and the spread of infectious diseases.