The number of fatalities resulting from flooding in Brazil has increased to 44
Efforts to rescue people are ongoing following flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall in a coastal region of Sao Paulo state.
As rescue workers continue to search for survivors, the death toll resulting from flooding and landslides in the Sao Paulo state of Brazil has climbed to 44, according to a statement by the state government on Tuesday. The disaster has left almost 2,500 people homeless or displaced, with rescue efforts still underway. Additionally, many roads in the area continue to be obstructed by mudslides.
Gabriel Bonavides, who was staying in a rented house with friends at the time of the disaster, told AFP, “There was no way to go anywhere. We left the car there and had to return by boat.”
The town of Sao Sebastiao suffered the most damage, with 43 out of the 44 reported deaths occurring there. The area was hit by a deluge of mud and debris, causing homes to be flooded and residents to sift through the debris for any salvageable belongings.
The flooding occurred following an unprecedented 24-hour rainfall of 600mm (24 inches) in Sao Sebastiao. During a visit to the affected areas on Monday, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva surveyed the damage and met with local officials. He emphasized the importance of more cautious building practices in the wake of the disaster.
In areas prone to natural disasters such as flooding and landslides, poor construction or development can significantly exacerbate the damage and danger.
Approximately 9.5 million people in Brazil reside in high-risk areas, many of whom are in impoverished communities with substandard housing.
The Sao Paulo region is a popular tourist destination, especially during the Brazilian Carnival holiday, which features renowned beaches. However, Carnival events were canceled in affected areas such as Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela, and Bertioga.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Lula assured Sao Sebastiao that they could rely on the support of the federal government. During his visit to the area, he announced that the town would be reconstructed with new housing built in safer areas.
The disaster has left over 760 people without homes and over 1,730 individuals have been temporarily displaced, according to authorities.
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On Tuesday morning, the residents of Juquehy, near Sao Sebastiao, were anxious as fresh rainfall led to additional landslides. Around 80 individuals left their homes, but there were no reports of casualties.
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