Disasters & Accidents

Mudslide due to heavy rains kills 8 in Manaus, Brazil

Sao Paulo, Mar 13 (EFE).- A mudslide caused by heavy rains left eight people dead, including four children, in the city of Manaus, Brazil, officials said on Monday.

The landslide took place on Sunday night amid a heavy downpour that drenched the region over the weekend, burying 11 houses in the eastern part of the capital of northern Amazonas state, the Manaus City Hall said in a statement.

Rescue teams were working throughout the morning to recover the bodies of the dead and search for potential survivors.

One person was rescued alive but later died of their injuries, city authorities said.

Of the eight people known to have died, four belonged to the same family.

According to official figures, 96 millimeters (3.75 inches) of rainfall fell in Manaus over the weekend, far above the average for this time of year, and the result is that the hillsides have become unstable because the ground has been saturated with water.

The mudslide occurred on the lower portion of a hill where a number of homes had been built in what was considered to be a risky area.

“We have more than 1,000 areas like this one in Manaus. And of those 1,000, 62 are high risk … We’re seeking more investment so that we can invest in those areas and provide dignified housing to people,” said Manaus Mayor David Almeida, as quoted in the statement.

Almedia said that on Tuesday he is scheduled to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to “seek more resources and intensify (our efforts and) get to work on the city’s historic problem with risky areas” and the lack of basic sanitation.

This new disaster comes less than a month after another heavy downpour along the coast of southeastern Sao Paulo state caused at least 65 deaths, 64 of them in the city of Sao Sebastiao and one in Ubatuba.

On that occasion, Lula flew over the area affected by the intense rainfall and asked local authorities to stop building homes in risky areas.

“Every now and then, nature surprises us, but often we defy it,” and so one must think “about a safe place where we can start to rebuild the homes of the people of Sao Sebastiao,” said the leftist president.

EFE cms/bp

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