Floods, landslides kill dozens in Brazil
Torrential rain has triggered flooding and landslides in coastal areas of Brazil’s southeast, killing at least 36 people and displacing hundreds of others.
In Sao Paulo state, television and social media footage from the town of Sao Sebastiao on Sunday showed entire neighbourhoods under water, debris from hillside houses swept away by mud, as well as flooded highways and cars destroyed by fallen trees.
The town, 200km (124 miles) north of the city of Sao Paulo and where many people from the capital spend the holiday weekend ahead of the Christian festival of Lent, was one of the hardest hit, as a record 600mm (24 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours, city officials said.
At least 35 people died in San Sebastiao, according to a statement from the Sao Paolo state government. A seven year old girl was also killed in the neighbouring town of Ubatuba, news reports said.
His government said 566 people had been displaced or made homeless.
Carnival events were cancelled in Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga.
“Our rescue teams are not managing to get to several location; it is a chaotic situation,” said Felipe Augusto, Sao Sebastiao’s mayor.
“We are working at nearly 50 residences that collapsed under the force of the water and there are still people buried,” he told reporters.
More than 100 firefighters were working on the scene, with the aid of helicopters, according to local media.
Amid the loss and destruction, authorities said a boy aged two was rescued from a sea of mud, as was a woman who was giving birth.
Weather forecasts show heavy rains are set to continue in Sao Paulo’s coastal area, challenging rescue workers and raising the prospect of a higher death toll.
The federal government ordered the mobilisation of several ministries to assist victims, restore infrastructure and start reconstruction work.