Heavy rain caused flood and landslides that have killed 36 people in Brazil’s northern Sao Paulo state, officials said Sunday, and the death toll could rise.
The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement that 35 died in the city of Sao Sebastiao and a 7-year-old girl was killed in neighboring Ubatuba.
The towns of Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga, some of the hardest hit and now disaster-stricken, canceled their carnival festivities as rescue teams battle to find the missing, injured and feared dead in the rubble.
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“Our rescue teams are unable to reach several locations; it’s a chaotic situation, says Felipe Augusto, mayor of Sao Sebastiao. He later added that dozens of people are missing and 50 houses collapsed in the city due to landslides.
Augusto posted several videos on social media of widespread destruction in his city, including one of babies being rescued by locals lining a flooded street.
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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Twitter that he will visit the region on Monday.
The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement that rainfall in the region has exceeded 600 millimeters (23.6 inches) in one day, one of the highest amounts on record in Brazil for such a short period.
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Bertioga alone had 687 millimeters in that period, the state government said.
Governor Tarcisio de Freitas said in a statement that he asked for support from the army, which sent two planes and rescue teams to the region.
TV footage showed houses flooded with only the roofs visible. The inhabitants use small boats to transport objects and people to higher positions. A road connecting Rio de Janeiro with the port city of Santos was blocked by landslides and floodwaters.
The northern coast of the state of Sao Paulo is a frequent carnival destination for wealthy tourists who prefer to stay away from massive street parties in big cities.
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