Sao Paulo, Jan 31 (EFE).- The number of deaths blamed on a particularly wet rainy season in the southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has climbed to 24, including eight children, officials said Monday.
Torrential rainfall over the weekend caused rivers to overflow their banks and triggered mudslides and flooding in different parts of Sao Paulo, forcing 660 families to evacuate their homes, that state’s Civil Defense body said in its latest update.
Eleven people are reported missing and seven have suffered injuries, according to the Sao Paulo state government’s latest figures.
Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, who will be a candidate in October’s presidential election, flew over the affected areas on Sunday and announced that 15 million reais (nearly $3 million) will be allocated to assist municipal administrations.
Both the greater Sao Paulo area and the state’s interior remain on alert on Monday, with the Center for Natural Disaster Monitoring and Alerts (Cemaden) warning of a high risk of floods and mudslides.
Sao Paulo state is Brazil’s wealthiest and most heavily populated with 46 million inhabitants, roughly equivalent to the entire populations of Spain, Colombia or Argentina.
The Sao Paulo metro area, meanwhile, accounts for around half of the state’s population.
The torrential rains also coincide with a worsening of the coronavirus pandemic in Sao Paulo state, which has reported 4.6 million confirmed cases and nearly 160,000 Covid-19-associated deaths since the start of the health emergency.
Heavy rains are common in Brazil during the Southern Hemisphere summer – between December and March – but have become more intense in recent years.
Other Brazilian states also have been hit by torrential rains since the end of last year.
In the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, heavy rains have caused nearly 30 deaths, triggered flooding in dozens of cities and forced nearly 100,000 people to abandon their homes.
At least 30 rain-related fatalities also have occurred in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, including 10 when a massive slab of rock separated from a cliff wall and collapsed on top of tourist boats at Furnas Lake on Jan. 8. EFE