Home LATEST NEWS Floods and rain kill at least 58 in Petropolis, Brazil

Floods and rain kill at least 58 in Petropolis, Brazil

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So far, 58 deaths have been confirmedpeople were saved”,”text”:”and 21people were saved”}}’>and 21 people were saved, said the governorate in a press release at the start of the afternoon. The authorities have mentioned almost a war situationwith the mobilization of several hundred rescuers.

The balance sheet is likely to increase further, the number of missing in the locality located 60 km north of Rio, in the south-east of Brazil, not having yet been established. The picturesque town received more rain in a few hours on Tuesday evening than the average for an entire month of February, according to the meteorological agency MetSul.

Brazil has been hit this rainy season by particularly severe rainfall – in the states of Bahia (northeast), Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo (southeast) – which experts have linked to global warming.

With warming, the risk of heavy rainfall events increases, according to scientists. These rains, associated in particular in Brazil with an often wild urbanization, favor floods and deadly landslides.

More than 180 firefighters were in Petropolis, along with some 400 military personnel, scouring the muddy earth in this mountain town that was the summer residence of the former imperial court fleeing Rio’s heatwave in the 19th century.

The most affected neighborhood is Alto da Serra, a hill that many families descended on Wednesday crying, carrying the meager belongings they were able to save, journalists from theFrance Media Agency.

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All the people on the street say it looks like a war zonesaid Wendel Pio Lourenço, a 24-year-old resident who has been involved in the rescue since the day before.

I found a little girl engulfed in the mud, says the young man, who carries a television to a church serving as a refuge. In total, some 300 inhabitants were taken in, often in schools.

state of calamity

Mud engulfed homes and torn tin roofs littered the ground.

Cars, swept away by rivers of mud the day before, found themselves with their wheels in the air or piled on top of other vehicles. Businesses were inundated by the water which rushed down the streets of the historic center of Petropolis.

A man rides a motorbike past cars piled up by torrents of mud.

The mud swept away many cars, which piled on top of each other following the very heavy rains that fell on Petropolis and left several people missing.

Photo: dpa via getty images / CARL DE SOUZA

On Wednesday, almost all shops in the city center were closed, with the exception of pharmacies.

The Church of Saint-Antoine, near the most affected area, opened its doors to some 150 residents who abandoned houses already destroyed or threatened with collapse.

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Most of those who arrive here have lost relatives. It’s a difficult situationdeclares to theFrance Media Agency Father Celestino, parish priest.

After a brief appearance of the sun, the rain threatened again at midday. I don’t want to see any more rain in my lifelaunched Jeronimo Leonardo, 47, who fled his house threatening to collapse.

The town hall of Petropolis, a city of 300,000 inhabitants, decreed on Tuesday evening thestate of calamity, and the governor of the state of Rio, Claudio Castro, went there. A three-day mourning was decreed.

From Moscow where he is visiting – and before going to Petropolis on Friday – President Jair Bolsonaro thanked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of its solidarity with the population. He wished that God comforts those who have been bereaved by this disaster.

Petropolis, with its opulent old houses, has become a destination that attracts a large number of tourists in search of history, hiking in green nature and a temperate climate.

The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig took refuge there to flee the Nazi regime and ended his life there in 1942.

In January 2011, more than 900 people died due to heavy rains causing flooding and landslides in a vast region near Rio including Petropolis and the neighboring towns of Nova Friburgo, Itaipava and Teresopolis.

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