Torrential rain kills 55 in Brazil vacationer city

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People lift rubble to look for survivors in a mudslide in Petropolis, Brazil on February 16, 2022 — Carl de Souza/AFP
Individuals carry rubble to search for survivors in a mudslide in Petropolis, Brazil on February 16, 2022 — Carl de Souza/AFP

PETROPOLIS: No less than 55 individuals had been killed in devastating flash floods and landslides that hit the picturesque Brazilian metropolis of Petropolis, turning streets into torrential rivers and sweeping away homes, officers mentioned Wednesday.

Rescue employees raced to search out survivors buried within the mud and wreckage after heavy storms Tuesday dumped a month’s value of rain in three hours on the scenic vacationer city within the hills north of Rio de Janeiro.

There have been fears the demise toll might rise additional as firefighters and volunteer rescue employees dug via the stays of homes washed away in torrents of mud, lots of them in impoverished hillside slums.

No less than 21 individuals have been to date been rescued alive within the effort, in accordance with the state authorities.

Round 300 individuals had been being housed in shelters, largely in colleges, officers mentioned. Charities known as for donations of mattresses, blankets, meals, water, clothes and face masks for victims.

Wendel Pio Lourenco, a 24-year-old resident, was strolling via the road with a tv in his arms, heading to a neighborhood church in the hunt for shelter.

He mentioned he was attempting to save lots of a number of possessions, after spending a sleepless night time serving to seek for victims.

“I discovered a woman who was buried alive,” he mentioned.

“Everyone seems to be saying it appears to be like like a conflict zone.”

Governor Claudio Castro mentioned a lot the identical after visiting the scene.

“It´s virtually a conflict state of affairs. We have mobilised our total crew,” he mentioned.

Movies posted on social media from Tuesday’s rains confirmed streets in Petropolis, the Nineteenth-century summer time capital of the Brazilian empire, stuffed with gushing floods that swept away automobiles, timber and practically the whole lot else of their paths.

Many retailers had been utterly inundated by the rising waters, which gushed down the streets of the historic metropolis centre.

Officers mentioned greater than 180 firefighters and different rescue employees had been responding to the emergency, aided by 400 troopers despatched in as reinforcements.

Metropolis corridor declared a “state of catastrophe” within the metropolis of 300,000 individuals, which sits 68 kilometres (42 miles) north of Rio.

The town council declared three days of mourning for victims.

‘Tragedy’

Petropolis is a well-liked vacation spot for vacationers fleeing the summer time warmth of Rio, identified for its leafy streets, stately houses, imperial palace  — at the moment a museum — and the pure great thing about the encompassing mountains.

Tuesday’s storms dumped 258 millimetres (10 inches) of rain on the town in three hours, practically equal to all of the rainfall from the earlier month, the mayor’s workplace mentioned.

The heaviest downpour had handed, however extra average rain was anticipated to proceed on and off for a number of days, authorities mentioned.

President Jair Bolsonaro, on an official journey to Russia, mentioned on Twitter he was conserving abreast of “the tragedy.”

“Thanks in your phrases of solidarity with the individuals of Petropolis,” he advised President Vladimir Putin after assembly the Russian chief.

“Might God consolation (the victims’) households.”

Brazil has been swept by heavy rains up to now a number of months which have triggered a collection of lethal floods and landslides.

Consultants say wet season downpours are being augmented by La Nina  — the cyclical cooling of the Pacific Ocean — and by the affect of local weather change.

As a result of a hotter ambiance holds extra water, international warming will increase the chance and depth of flooding from excessive rainfall.

Final month, torrential rain triggered floods and landslides that killed no less than 28 individuals in southeastern Brazil, largely in Sao Paulo state.

There have additionally been heavy rains within the northeastern state of Bahia, the place 24 individuals died in December.

It isn’t the primary time the mountains round Rio have been the scene of lethal storms.

In January 2011, greater than 900 individuals died within the area on account of heavy rains that triggered flooding and landslides in a big space, together with Petropolis and neighbouring cities Nova Friburgo and Teresopolis.

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