Heavy rainfall in Brazil has resulted in severe flooding and landslides in Brazil, killing at least 36 people, including a seven-year-old girl, and destroying at least 50 houses.
On Sunday, more than 23.6 inches (600mm) of rain fell in Sao Paulo, Brazil, two times more than the amount expected to fall in the month. The torrential rains have damaged several roads in the state, with rescuers finding it difficult to reach survivors.
“Search and rescue teams are not managing to get to several places; it is a chaotic situation,” Felipe Augusto, the mayor of São Sebastião, one of the most hit areas, said.
“We have not yet gauged the scale of the damage. We are trying to rescue the victims.”
Footage shared on social media and Television showed the extent of damage, with residents doing all they could to rescue neighbours stuck in the debris. In several places, cars, motorbikes, and other items were seen in the mud, with no possibility of bringing them out. In other places, fallen trees have destroyed some cars and highways are flooded.
The port in Santos, the largest in Latin America, was shut down on Sunday after wind speed exceeded 34mph and the waves became fearsome.
Governor Tarcisio de Freitas of Sao Paulo declared a state of emergency in five of the most affected towns along the coast. He said at least 566 people have been made homeless following the rainfall and subsequent landslide.
The yearly carnival in Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga has been cancelled following the unfortunate disaster. The carnival event, which attracts thousands of tourists every year, is a five-day event with colourful celebrations that are synonymous with Brazil.
Brazil’s president, Lula da Silva, who was in northeastern Bahia for the festival, said he would visit the affected areas on Monday and promised intervention by the country’s federal government.
“We are going to bring together all levels of government and, with the solidarity of society, treat the wounded, look for the missing, and restore highways, power connections and telecommunications in the region. My condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy,” Lula da Silva wrote on Twitter.
“The entire federal government…are available and working to help with whatever is necessary and to join efforts with the government of São Paulo and city halls in helping the victims,” Lula added.
Unfortunately, the heavy rains have not stopped and the conditions could get worse for the rescuers. The death toll could move slightly higher as victims are still trapped, and the situation is not getting better, at least for now.
As the world faces global climate change, more such floodings are expected in Brazil and other parts of the earth. Last year, similar rainfall killed at least 230 people in Petropolis. There are fears that more of such could be experienced this year.