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Numerous dead and injured after storms in Brazil

At least 36 people died in floods and landslides after heavy rains hit coastal regions in southeastern Brazil. Hundreds more are still buried or missing, Sao Paulo state officials said yesterday (local time). We are talking about an unprecedented extreme weather event.

Road buried by landslide in Brazil

APA/AFP/Civil Defense of Ubatuba

Rescue teams continue to search for victims and clear blocked streets. The state of São Paulo declared a state of emergency for six cities. The president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, announced that he would visit the most affected areas. More heavy rains are forecast for the region, making it difficult for rescue teams to find missing people. Authorities fear that the number of victims will continue to rise.

Huge amounts of rain

The storm caused flooding and landslides on the Atlantic coast of the state of São Paulo starting on Saturday. The hardest hit was São Sebastião, where many people from São Paulo, about 200 kilometers away, spent the Carnival weekend. According to the city administration, 600 millimeters of rain fell in 24 hours. The mayor of the city, Felipe Augusto, spoke of an “extremely critical” situation and the carnival events were cancelled.

Images on television and online networks show how entire neighborhoods of the city are under water and the wreckage of houses is washed away. It also shows flooded highways and cars damaged by fallen trees. More than 230 people died in floods and landslides in the southeastern Brazilian city of Petropolis last year.