Brazil floods: 44 dead and 38 missing

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Floods in Brazil: 44 dead and 38 missing

Rescuers evacuate the body of a victim of the flood.

Searches continued Tuesday in southeastern Brazil in an attempt to find the 38 people missing in landslides that swept away many homes and could raise the death toll to another 44.

More than 680 millimeters of rain fell in 24 hours in Sao Sebastiao, a seaside resort about 200 km from Sao Paulo, more than double the monthly rainfall. A national record according to the Sao Paulo state government.

This is where 43 deaths have so far been recorded, in addition to that of a little girl further north, in the coastal town of Ubatuba.

Search and rescue operations continue unabated, Sao Paulo governor's office said, adding that 1,730 people had been temporarily evacuated from their homes and 760 were left homeless.

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“We don't know what the death toll will be. We may find bodies where we never imagined.

—Governor Tarcisio de Freitas

Thirty-eight people are still missing, a figure he says could push the number of people up to more than 70 died in Sunday's deadly mudslides.

But adverse weather conditions were hampering search efforts as night fell, with further rain making the ground in the area very wet and slippery. And the national meteorological service (Inmet) announced the continuation of showers in the region throughout the week.

A total of 26 people, including 6 children, are being treated in hospitals, with 7 in serious condition, local authorities said, adding that nearly 1,000 rescuers, 50 cars and 14 helicopters were dispatched to the scene.

In Sao Sebastiao, a tent was erected for a collective vigil in tribute to the victims, while the population helped each other to clean the mud which invaded the houses which did not yield under the pressure.

In the neighboring town of Juquehy, the inhabitants still shaken by the storm wiped out during the weekend were tested Tuesday morning by new landslides. About 80 people fled their homes, but no casualties were reported, authorities said.

Rescuers searching for survivors in Barra do Sahy area, Sao Sebastiao

To In Vila Sahy, 40 kilometers from Sao Sebastiao, rescuers cleared tree trunks with chainsaws, cleared huge stones and shoveled mud guided by dogs.

It's a scene of war. We are looking for 13 people, said Daniel de Oliveira, 21, a rescue officer in the area, who was shoveling mud from the windows of a buried car.

Authorities have urged the evacuation of all non-residents, but many roads still blocked by landslides are forcing the evacuation of holidaymakers by boats.

We couldn't go anywhere. We left the car there and had to come back by boat, Gabriel Bonavides, a 19-year-old student who was vacationing in a rental house over the long week, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). – carnival holiday end.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who flew over the disaster area on Monday warned of the dangers of urban constructions located at the foot of hills, such as those washed away in Sao Sebastiao.< /p>

Brazil's National Natural Disaster Monitoring and Warning Center (Cemaden) estimates that 9.5 million people live in areas prone to landslides or floods , many of them in favelas lacking basic sanitation.

Brazil, which is suffering the effects of climate change, is plagued by repeated natural disasters, such as in February 2022 in Petropolis in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where more than 230 people died as a result of heavy rains.

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