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.

Read more:

Riots in Brazil: what drove Bolsonaro supporters’ storming of the capital

Read next:

Part of the sun breaks off and forms a strange vortex, puzzling scientists

“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.

The story continues below the ad

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.

Click to play the video:

Cyclone Gabrielle: New Zealand declares state of emergency amid floods, landslides

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.

Read more:

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest fell by 11 percent from last year, the report says

Read next:

Exclusive: Widow’s 911 call before James Smith Cree Nation murders reveals past violence

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.

The story continues below the ad

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.

Performers from Salgueiro’s samba school parade on a float during Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo

© 2023 The Canadian Press