Disasters & Accidents

Almost 100 killed in floods, mudslides in Rio de Janeiro state

Sao Paulo, Feb 16 (EFE).- Almost 100 people have died after heavy rains caused floods and mudslides in a mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, with authorities reporting on Wednesday that the total casualties and damage are still difficult to estimate.

The historic city of Petrópolis, about 70 kilometers from state capital Rio de Janeiro, emerged Wednesday morning from devastating overnight storms that have left at least 94 people dead, including eight children, with 24 rescued alive, almost 400 homeless and an unknown number of wounded and missing, according to the latest data released Wednesday night by the authorities.

Regional secretary of Civil Defense, Leandro Monteiro, said it’s possible the number of deaths will rise in the coming hours, as there are “endless missing persons” and people buried in various areas.

Petrópolis has been in a state of public calamity since Tuesday night and has registered emergencies such as floods and landslides in at least 89 points in the city, especially in the Alto de la Sierra neighborhood.

Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro described the situation as “almost like war … Cars hanging from poles, cars overturned, lots of mud and water.”

Petrópolis Mayor Rubens Bomtempo said it is not yet possible to specify the total scale of the catastrophe, but he calculated that about 10,000 families remain in at-risk areas.

Known as the Imperial City of Brazil, the municipality accumulated 259 millimeters of rain in just six hours late Tuesday – more than what was forecast for the entire month of February (238 millimeters).

The tragedy is comes 11 years after a storm took the lives of more than 900 people in Petrópolis and other mountain cities of Rio de Janeiro, in what is considered the greatest weather tragedy ever recorded in Brazil. EFE


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