Floods and Landslides Kill Dozens in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Nearly 36 people have lost their lives in Brazil, Sao Paulo state due to flooding and landslides.

A number of people are missing whereas the number of dead is expected to rise, rescue teams say they hope to pull some of those stucked in flooded homes out of the mud alive.

A recent video showed neighbourhoods under water, inundated motorways and debris left after houses were swept away.

Due to heavy rains, a number of cities have cancelled Carnival celebrations and in the coastal town of São Sebastião, 627mm of rain fell in 24 hours, which is twice the expected amount for the month.

Felipe August, the mayor of São Sebastião, stated that the situation in the town was chaotic and the scale of the damage was not yet determined.

He mentioned that they were focusing on rescuing the victims, and added that around 50 houses had collapsed and were swept away. August noted that the situation remained highly critical.

At least 35 people have died in São Sebastião according to the state government, and in Ubatuba, located about 80km (50 miles) northeast of São Sebastião, a two-tonne boulder crashed into a house and killed a seven-year-old girl. Hundreds of people have been displaced and evacuated.

A civil defence official told Folha de São Paulo newspaper that there are likely to be many more deaths.

Governor Tarcísio de Freitas announced the release of $1.5m (£1.2m) in funding to support disaster relief efforts.

Wealthy tourists who flock to the coastline to avoid the big cities’ massive street celebrations will be disappointed as Carnival events have been cancelled in some areas due to flooding and landslides in Brazil’s São Paulo state.

The Carnival festival, which typically lasts for five days before the Christian festival of Lent, has been cancelled in some parts of the coastline, a popular destination for wealthy tourists seeking to avoid big city festivities. Latin America’s biggest port in Santos has also been closed due to high winds and waves.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was in Bahia for the Carnival weekend, plans to visit the affected areas to coordinate the provision of healthcare and rescue teams. Extreme weather events, such as these floods, are expected to become more frequent as the impacts of climate change take hold.

The state is also bracing for more heavy rainfall that could worsen conditions for emergency workers. Last year, more than 230 people were killed by torrential rains in the southeastern city of Petropolis.

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