Brazil flood death toll rises to 44

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São Sebastian, Brazil, 22 February 2023 (AFP) — The death toll from floods and landslides caused by heavy rains in the state of São Paulo (southeast) has risen to 44 as rescuers continue their search. The city of San Sebastian received more than 680mm of rain in the past 24 hours, more than double the average monthly rainfall, according to local authorities.

In this city, located about 200 kilometers from São Paulo, the economic capital of the country, the landslide demolished about fifty houses.

And 43 of the 44 dead were in this coastal city of 90,000.

As for the only victim that fell outside the city of San Sebastian, it was a little girl who died in the coastal city of Ubatuba to the north.

The São Paulo State Governor’s Office said on Tuesday that “search and rescue operations continue unabated,” noting that the number of those who lost their homes and became homeless as a result of this natural disaster has reached 760 people, in addition to another 1,730 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes.

“We do not know the final death toll. We can find bodies in places we can’t imagine,” Gov. Tarcisio de Freitas told AFP after flying over the affected areas in a helicopter to see the extent of the disaster. .

38 people are still missing.

The governor said the figure means that the death toll from the disaster could rise to more than 70 if the deaths of the missing are confirmed.

Bad weather made it difficult to search for the missing, as night fell and it began to rain, leaving the ground in the area “very wet and slippery”.

The National Meteorological Office (INMET) predicts that it will continue to rain in the region during the week.

And 25 people, including six children, are still being treated in hospitals, seven of them in serious condition, according to local authorities.

About 1,000 paramedics, 50 cars and 14 helicopters take part in search and rescue operations.

Footage from San Sebastian, broadcast by local TV channels and circulated by social media accounts, showed entire neighborhoods flooded, houses destroyed by landslides, dust cut roads, mud streams and cars with fallen trees and power poles.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency in five coastal cities, where landslides have washed away major road networks, making access extremely difficult.

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