Brazil's mudslide deaths reach 105 with many more still missing
PETROPOLIS (AP) -- The Rio de Janeiro state government confirmed 105 deaths in floods and mudslides which swept away houses and cars in Petropolis. Although families were ready to bury their loved ones, it was not clear how many bodies remained in the mud as they were buried.
Rubens Bomtempo was the mayor of the German-influenced town nestled in the mountains. He didn't even give an estimate of the number of missing people. Recovery efforts are ongoing.
Bomtempo stated Wednesday at a news conference that "we don't yet understand the full extent of this." "It was a hard, difficult day.
After Tuesday's landslides, survivors were searching for loved ones. Rio de Janeiro's public prosecutor's office stated Wednesday night in a statement that it had compiled 35 names yet to be found.
Social media footage showed torrents moving cars and houses along the streets, and water swirling throughout the city. Two buses were seen sinking into the river while passengers tried to escape through their windows. Some people didn't make it all the way to the banks, and they were washed away, far from sight.
Wednesday morning saw houses left under mud, while cars and appliances were piled up on the streets.
Rosilene Virginia, a resident, was barely able to escape her brother. She considers it a miracle. Unknown friend has not yet been found.
Virginia said that it was very difficult to see people seeking help, and there is no way to help them. A man helped her. "It's depressing, a great feeling of loss." The name Petropolis is a tribute to a former Brazilian Emperor.
Its wealth has attracted residents from Rio's poorer areas. The population grew haphazardly and climbed mountainsides, now covered with tiny residences packed tightly together in areas that are more vulnerable to deforestation.
According to the state fire department, 25.8 cm (just over 10 in) of rain fell in three hours on Tuesday. This is almost as much rainfall as was recorded during the previous 30 days. Rio de Janeiro's Gov. Claudio Castro stated in a press conference, that the rains had been the worst since 1932.
Castro stated that "No one could have predicted this much rain." According to forecasters, more rain is expected throughout the rest of this week.
Castro said that nearly 400 people were homeless, and 24 were found alive. They were lucky, but they were few.
Lisa Torres Machado (64), said that "the hand of God spared her family from disaster." Machado told the AP that her mother left a little room at her house and she hid with my sister and brother. "I can't sleep. It's still hard to believe that this is happening. All our friends were lost."
In recent decades, similar disasters have struck the mountain region. One of these was that which claimed more than 900 lives. Petropolis has presented a plan to reduce the risk of landslides in the years that have followed, but progress has been slow. This plan was presented in 2017. It was based upon analysis that found 18% of the city's land was at high risk of flooding and landslides.
Local authorities claim that more than 180 people who live in high-risk areas are sheltering in schools. On Thursday, rescue efforts were expected to be assisted by more equipment and human resources.
Brazil's President Jairbolsonaro showed solidarity while on a visit to Russia. Three days of mourning were declared by the Petropolis city hall in response to the tragedy.
Since the beginning of the year, heavy rains have hit Southeastern Brazil with over 40 deaths between January's events in Minas Gerais and later in the month in Sao Paulo.