SAO PAULO – A mighty tributary of the Amazon River has hit a record high level after weeks of heavy rains.
The Rio Negro crested at 97.70 feet (29.78 meters) Wednesday in the jungle city of Manaus, Brazil's geographical service said on its website. That was just above the previous record set in 2009, when the river hit 97.67 feet (29.77 meters).
Records have been kept on the level of the powerful river since 1902.
The river's waters are flooding the center of Manaus, a city of 1.6 million people. It's in Amazonas state, where 83 percent of the counties are in a state of emergency because of flooding from rains that are continuing.
Television images showed partially submerged houses in several Manaus neighborhoods and people nailing planks of wood to build rudimentary footbridges between houses and across flooded streets. Improvised metal platforms spanned streets in commercial districts, where shop owners moved merchandise away from the encroaching waters.
"Everyone is suffering here," Ivone Nascimeto told the G1 news website. She said she needed more wood to lift the ground floor of her house to protect her furniture, clothes and appliances from the water.
Her daughter-in-law, Alcinei Barbosa, said her children had come down with fever and diarrhea because of the "constant contact with the water that invaded our house."