117 people were killed in a landslide in Brazil, and 116 people were missing from police.

Petropolis, Brazil — Floods and landslides that hit the mountain city of Petropolis increased to at least 117 on Thursday, local authorities say it could still rise sharply, 116 still being explained. Said not.

The Rio de Janeiro state government has confirmed that many will die for fear of being buried in the mud beneath a German-affected city surrounded by mountains above the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Floods and landslide torrents dragged cars and homes into the streets of the city on Tuesday, during the heaviest rainfall of decades. One video showed two buses sinking into a swollen river as passengers climbed through a window and scrambled for safety. Some people didn’t go to the bank and were swept away because they couldn’t see it.

Landslide in Petropolis, Brazil
On February 16, 2022, rescue workers and residents are searching for victims in a landslide-affected area in Petropolis, Brazil. (Silvia Izquierdo / AP Photo)

Survivors dug into the devastated landscape to find their loved ones, even if more landslides occurred on the slopes of the city. A small slide on Thursday urged evacuation, but was not injured.

In the evening, heavy showers returned to the area, raising new concerns between residents and rescue workers. Authorities argued that people living in endangered areas should be evacuated.

Rosilene Virginia’said her brother barely escaped, and she considers it a miracle. But I haven’t found any friends yet.

“It’s very sad to see people asking for help, no way to help, no way to do anything,” Virginia told The Associated Press that a man comforted her. “It’s desperate and the feeling of loss is amazing.”

When some tried to clear the mud, others began to bury their lost relatives, and there were 17 funerals in the damaged graveyard.

In a statement Thursday, Rio police said about 200 agents visited the city’s morgue, as well as checkpoints and shelters, to check the list of living, dead and missing people. He said he was doing it. They said they managed to remove three people from the list of missing people after finding them alive at a local school.

“All the details are important so that we can track people,” said Rio Police Investigator Ellen Sout. “You need to give the missing person’s name, ID, physical characteristics, and the clothes they wore.”

Named after a former Brazilian royal leader, Petropolis is a haven for people fleeing the heat of summer, and tourists are keen to explore the so-called “imperial city”.

Its prosperity also attracted residents from poor areas of Rio, with unplanned population growth, climbing hillsides now covered with densely populated small dwellings, and often more vulnerable to deforestation and inadequate drainage. Located in the area.

According to the state fire department, it rained 25.8 centimeters (a little over 10 inches) within three hours of Tuesday. This is about the same as the total for the last 30 days. Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro said in a press conference that the rain was the worst that Petropolis had received since 1932.

“I couldn’t have predicted such a heavy rain,” Castro said. According to the weather forecast, it was expected to rain more for the rest of the week.

Castro added that nearly 400 people lost their homes and 24 survived. They were lucky, and they were a few.

Landslide victims in Petropolis, Brazil
Rescue personnel carry the bodies of landslide victims in Petropolis, Brazil, on February 16, 2022. (Silvia Izquierdo / AP photo)

Lisa Torres Machado, 64, said that “the hand of God” saved her family from tragedy.

“There was a small room left in my mother’s house, and she was hiding there with my two sisters and brothers,” Machado, who has lived in Petropolis for 30 years, told AP. .. “I can’t sleep. I still can’t believe what’s going on. We’ve lost all our friends.”

Similar catastrophes have occurred in the affected mountainous areas in recent decades, including those that have killed more than 900 people. Since then, Petropolis has proposed plans to reduce the risk of landslides, but work is progressing only slowly. The plan presented in 2017 was based on an analysis that determined that 18% of the city’s territory was at high risk of landslides and floods.

Municipalities say more than 180 residents in endangered areas were evacuated to schools. Thursday’s rescue operations required more equipment and personnel.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed solidarity during his trip to Russia. The City Hall of Petropolis has declared a three-day memorial for the tragedy.

Southeastern Brazil has been punished by heavy rains since the beginning of this year, with more than 40 deaths recorded during the incidents in Minas Gerais and São Paulo later in January.

By Mauricio Savarese and Diarlei Rodrigues

Associated Press


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