Heavy rains claim at least 35 lives in Brazil

São Paulo, Feb 16 (EFE).- At least 35 people have died as a result of torrential rains and landslides in a Brazilian town to the north of Rio de Janeiro state, officials said on Wednesday.

The Civil Defense of Rio de Janeiro expected the accumulated rainfall to increase in the mountainous town of Petropolis after it reached 259 millimeters in just six hours Tuesday night.

Fears that the death toll could rise further in Petropolis throughout the day have prompted the city’s mayor to declare a state of emergency in order to deal with the situation.

So far, nearly 200 houses have been buried under at least 171 landslides, according to official figures.

“I have made several calls to the ministers Rogerio Marinho and Paulo Guedes for immediate assistance to the victims, as well as I talked to Defense Minister General Braga Netto, who accompanies me in Russia,” Bazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who is on a visit to Moscow, said on Twitter that he

Rio de Janeiro’s governor Claudio Castro called the situation an “almost war,” saying the heavy downpours have overturned cars.

It started raining heavily overnight, according to Castro, who added the rainfall accumulation was 200 millimeters after only two hours.

“It’s an absurd amount and, unfortunately, not all the people could be rescued,” he added.

In 2011, Rio de Janeiro experienced the worst flooding in Brazil’s history, leaving more than 900 people dead and 100 others missing.EFE


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