Anadolu Agency – Photo by João Paulo Amaro: floods in Iraí, Rio Grande do Sul

SÃO PAULO – The Brazilian government has officially recognised declarations of a state of disaster by two cities, as well as 124 municipalities’ state of emergency, in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Nearly 18,400 have now been forced from their homes, and although the rains have eased in and around the state, some 157 municipalities have now been affected, with 131 declaring a state of emergency, the G1 news portal reported.

The official recognition of the natural disaster means emergency federal funds can be released to local governments; the state has asked for R$19 million (US$8.5 million).

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Record high temperatures in São Paulo, Brazil’s (and South America’s) biggest city, have stretched well into February 2014, with an impact being felt on both water and power supplies to the wider state.

See how paulistas, paulistanos and city visitors have been coping with the hot weather.

Filmed on location: Avenida Paulista, Parque Ibirapuera and USP Central Campus, São Paulo. All photography © Ben Tavener 2014. (Music: Cruel Summer/Bananarama © London Records 1984)