Floods in Brazil: death toll rises to 40, Lula flies over disaster area
A man surveys the damage in the Juquehy area of Sao Sebastiao
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva flew over the area on Monday where floods and landslides killed at least 40 people in the state of Sao Paulo, according to the latest official report.
It is important to work together […] We must pray for the victims, but also that it does not rain so that we can start the reconstruction, declared the head of the ;State at a press conference, shortly after his helicopter flight over the disaster area following heavy rains on Sunday.
The National Meteorological Institute has issued an alert for further heavy rains in the region for the next few days.
In Sao Sebastiao, a coastal city located 200 km from Sao Paulo, the economic capital of Brazil, around fifty houses were swept away by a landslide.
It is in this town of around 90,000 inhabitants that 39 of the 40 confirmed deaths have been recorded, according to the latest official report late Monday afternoon, a figure which could be #x27;to weigh down soon.
About 40 people have still not been found, Michelle Cesar, head of the Sao Paulo fire department, told CNN Brazil.
Another death, that of a little girl, was recorded further north, in the coastal town of Ubatuba.
I don't know what to do, I lost everything. Fortunately, I was able to leave the house in time with the children, but everything was covered in mud, we could not save anything, Patricia da told Agence France-Presse (AFP). Silva, housekeeper who had to be hosted by friends with her two daughters aged 15 and 9.
We do not know where to go, the house is completely destroyed, deplores the 31-year-old young woman. Some 1,730 people were evacuated and 766 were left homeless, according to the authorities, who deployed 500 rescuers, soldiers and police to participate research and help the victims.
Men empty their house of the mud that invaded their house after the floods.
A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal towns where landslides have engulfed major road networks, making access to the region difficult.
In 24 hours, 600 mm of rain was recorded in Sao Sebastiao, twice as much as the monthly average for this busy seaside city during this carnival weekend.
Exceptional volumes of precipitation that broke records, said the mayor of the city, Felipe Augusto, describing an extremely critical situation.
The whole reconstruction process will be very long, due to the damage on the roads. Neighborhoods are still isolated. The priority at the moment is to look for living people. All are mobilized to find survivors in the rubble, added the city councilor during the press conference alongside Lula.
The leftist president advocated union alongside one of his political opponents, Sao Paulo Governor Tarcisio de Freitas. The latter is a former minister to far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro, whom Lula, 77, beat to the wire in the October election.
“It is important to stop building houses in places where people are at risk of dying from heavy rains.
— Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazilian President
Brazil's National Natural Disaster Monitoring and Warning Center estimates that 9.5 million people live in areas prone to landslides or floods, many of them in favelas – slums – lacking basic sanitation facilities.
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.