State of Rio de Janeiro government confirmed 94 deaths from floods and mudslides that washed away homes and cars in Petropolis city. But even as families prepared to bury their deadce was unclear on Thursday how many bodies are still trapped under the mud.
Rubens Bomtempo, mayor of german influence city niche in the mountains, did not offer an estimate for the number of people missing, with search and rescue operations still ongoing.
“We do not know yet know the full ladder of this,” Bomtempo said during a news conference on Wednesday. “It was a hard day, a difficult day.
More than 24 hours after the deadly deluge early Tuesday, survivors were digging to find their lost loved ones. that of Rio de Janeiro public prosecutors’ office noted in a statement Wednesday evening that he had compiled a list of 35 people to become found.
Pictures posted on social media showed torrents dragging cars and houses through the streets and water swirling through the city. Video showed two buses plunging into a swollen river as passengers climbed up out the windowsjamming for safety. Some did not reach the banks and were swept away, out of view.
Homes were buried in mud on Wednesday morning as appliances and cars piled up on the streets.
Petropolis, named for a former Brazilian emperor, was a refuge for people escape to summer heat and tourists keen to explore the so-called “Imperial City”.
Its prosperity has also drawn economically weaker residents of poor areas of Rio. His population grew haphazardly, climbing the sides of the mountains now covered with small residences crowded together. Many houses are built in structurally unsafe areas, prone to natural disasters due to deforestation and inadequate drainage.
The state fire department said 25.8 centimeters (just over 10 inches) of rains were recorded in three hours on Tuesday – almost as many as the previous 30 days combined. Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro said in a press conference that the rains were the worst Petropolis had received since 1932.
“No one could predict rain like hard like this,” Castro said. According to weather forecasters, more rain is expected during the rest of the week.
Castro added that nearly 400 people were left homeless and 24 were rescued alive. “They had some chanceand they were few.”
“I only heard my brother shouting ‘Help! To help! My God ! resident Rosilene Virginia told The Associated Press (AP) as a man comforted her. “It’s very sad to see people to ask for help and not having way of help, no way of do something. It’s hopeless, a feeling of loss so great.”
The stricken mountain region has seen similar disasters in past decades, including one this caused more more than 900 dead. In the years following Petropolis’ presentation of a plan to reduce risks of landslides, but work is progressing slowly. The plan, presented in 2017, was based on analysis determining that 18% of the citythe territory was at its highest risk for landslides and floods.
Local authorities say more more than 180 inhabitants who live in at-risk the areas shelter in schools. Following equipment and the main-work should help rescue efforts on Thusday.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed his solidarity on a trip to Russia. Petropolis’ city room said three days of mourning for the tragedy.
Since start of the year the southeast of Brazil was punished with heavy rain, with more more than 40 deaths recorded between incidents in State of Minas Gerais in early January and Sao Paulo State later the same month.
Residents of Alto da Serra was evacuated to a church on top of another nearby hill. Of the place outside the small blue building, they can see the disaster area through the mist. Dozens of families invade the church, carrying their belongings in Bags. Outside, volunteers unload a truck of bottled water, while others sort through donated clothes.
“Can I have shoes?” asks a barefoot little boy, his clothes stained with mud. Inside, mattresses line floor.
“We started taking people in like soon that the tragedy began on Tuesday evening. We welcome around 150 to 200 people including many of children”, says Father Celestino, parish priest.
Yasmin Kennia Narciso, 26year- old teacher’s assistant, sits on a breastfeeding mattress son 9 month old baby baby.
“I haven’t slept all night,” she said. says.
She tells the story of how she fled with her two daughters around 11 p.m. local time.
“We tried to leave earlier, but there were rocks scattered on the path and everything was flooded. We were in waist deep in water. We had no choice but to wait for it to pass down,” she says.
She adds that she is still waiting for news about several neighbors.
“An old lady and her three grandchildren who lived just above us were buried in mud.”
survivors know they are likely face a long wait to find out if and when they can return home – for those who still have homes left.