Brazil Floods : Death Toll Rises To 50

Brazil Floods : Death Toll Rises To 50

3 mins read

Brazilian authorities said Thursday evening that the death toll from floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains in the country’s southeast had risen to at least 50, with emergency workers continuing to dig through the wreckage.

“The more time passes, the less likely it is to find survivors. But we always work with that in mind. There can always be air pockets under the rubble,” emergency official Villas Boas told news site G1.

According to the Sao Paulo state government, dozens of people are still missing after the disaster.

Key roads such as the Mogi-Bertioga and Rio-Santos highways remained blocked due to landslides, the government added, while state-run water company Sabesp managed to restore supply to the region.

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Government and private aid groups were scrambling to provide necessities, but the logistics of reaching the isolated towns was creating difficulties.

The homeless are being sheltered in schools, kindergartens and churches in São Sebastiao. About 7.5 tonnes of aid items including food, water and hygiene kits have already been distributed to the victims, according to the state government of São Paulo.

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Brazil’s environment minister, Marina Silva, visited Barra do Sahy on Wednesday, a district of the hardest-hit mountainous coastal municipality of São Sebastiao. While there, she was confronted by a local resident, Resident Reuri Nascimento, who told Silva he removed 22 bodies using his quad bike. He complained that victims of the floods and landslides had been abandoned and said supplies were not reaching them.

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“Why aren’t the police here to help us? There’s food trafficking, we don’t know where the food is going,” he said.

Last weekend’s record storms dumped more than an entire February’s worth of rain in 24 hours on the picturesque beach resort town of Sao Sebastiao and the surrounding region, triggering violent floods and landslides that tore through precariously built hillside communities.

Sao Paulo Governor Tarcisio de Freitas admitted the official weather alert system had failed to avoid the tragedy. “We sent 2.6 million alerts by text message, but as we saw, that wasn’t effective,” he said. “Next rainy season, there will be sirens to warn people in high-risk areas.”

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Bisina Somto
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