Disasters & Accidents

Death toll from Brazil rains rises to 84

Recife, Brazil, May 29 (EFE).- The death toll due to heavy rains that hit Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco rose to 84, officials said.

Dozens of people were missing on Saturday in the biggest disaster in five decades that struck Recife, the regional capital.

Pernambuco Governor Paulo Camara said 79 of the 84 victims died between Friday night and Sunday when heavy rains lashed the state, mainly in the Recife metropolitan region.

Camara said the exact number of missing persons was still unknown, even as the latest bulletin from the regional government said 56 people were untraceable.

The majority of the fatalities caused due to landslides and floods were in the metropolitan region of Recife, the most affected by the heavy rains that lashed northeastern Brazil since the beginning of the week.

Twenty people died in a major landslide that swept away dozens of houses on a small hill in the Jardim Monteverde community, on the border between state capital Recife and the municipality of Jaboatao dos Guararapes.

The situation continued to be grim on Sunday.

Reginaldo Ramos survived the tragedy but lost 11 in the family, including his 31-year-old daughter, who had just graduated in engineering and had started working 15 days ago.

“My wife and I were in the kitchen and we managed to be rescued. My daughter was in the room and was completely buried,” said Reginaldo.

“I lost everything, but most importantly my daughter, who is still buried. I spoke with the firefighter lieutenant and showed him where she is, but the access is difficult,” lamented Reginaldo.

Firemen, soldiers, and residents, mainly young people, continued with the searches while the rain lashed the region again.

Recife Mayor Joao Campos called the situation “extremely challenging” and noted that the weather phenomenon “is completely atypical” at this time of year.

“It is the biggest disaster in the last 50 years to have hit the Recife metropolitan region,” Campos said.

More than 4,000 people fled their homes, Minister of Regional Development Daniel Ferreira told reporters.

President Jair Bolsonaro said Sunday that he would visit Recife on Monday to “learn more about the tragedy,” which occurred two and a half months after rainfall killed more than 230 people in Petrópolis, in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro. EFE


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