Home WORLD AMERICA Brazil flood death toll rises to 138

Brazil flood death toll rises to 138

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In a thick fog, the rescuers, recognizable by their orange uniforms, continued the search using shovels and spades to try to find the missing, five days after the disaster.

Heavy rains fell on Tuesday on the city of 300,000 inhabitants, located 60 km north of Rio, turning the streets into torrents of mud and causing landslides. Petropolis received more rain than the average for an entire month of February.

More than 500 firefighters, with helicopters, diggers and sniffer dogs remain mobilized, even if the chances of finding survivors are increasingly slim.

In the district of Alto Serra, where nearly 80 houses were engulfed by a mudslide, rescuers transported two bodies in the morning in body bags, noted a photographer from theFrance Media Agency.

Blur on the number of missing

As during relief operations during earthquakes, the rescuers from time to time sound powerful whistles to call the population to silence and try to detect signs of life.

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In this area, authorities say the mountain of mud and rubble is unstable. Searches are therefore carried out using hand tools and chainsaws in the most difficult to reach places.

Homes destroyed.

Floods and landslides on February 15 washed away people and homes.

Photo: AP/Silvia Izquierdo

Since the launch of search operations, 24 people have been found alive, but mainly in the hours following the disaster, according to the authorities.

The number of missing remains unclear. Police announced a figure of 218 people on Friday. But she did not specify whether she counted in this total the bodies not yet identified or the people already found.

Scenes of war, according to Bolsonaro

For the time being, 91 bodies out of the 138 found have been identified, and 72 victims have been buried in the main cemetery of the city, including 19 on Saturday morning alone.

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President Jair Bolsonaro, who flew over the disaster areas on Friday, described war scenes.

The austral summer was particularly deadly in Brazil, with torrential rains which have killed dozens in recent months in the states of Bahia (northeast), Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo (southeast).

This extreme precipitation is linked, according to experts, to global warming.

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