More than 46 people killed in Brazil as record rainfall triggers floods and landslides

Scores are missing, according to authorities

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 26 January 2020 19:16
A firefighter looks at the site of a landslide in Belo Horizonte
A firefighter looks at the site of a landslide in Belo Horizonte

More than 46 people have been killed in flooding and landslides in Brazil after parts of the country experienced their heaviest ever rainfall.

At least 37 had died in the state of state of Minas Gerais and nine more in neighbouring Espirito Santo, according to local disaster officials, who said 28 people remained missing.

Some 20,000 people have evacuated.

Authorities said rain was expected to continue across parts of Minas Gerais - which neighbours Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo – throughout Sunday.

Romeu Zema, the state governor, has declared a state of emergency in over 47 cities.

Images have shown properties devastated by landslides and rubble covered in mud following the extreme weather.

On Friday, Belo Horizonte - the state capital – received the most rain it has ever seen in a 24-hour period.

“I am deeply sorry for the deaths, especially a child’s, as a result of the largest ever rainfall recorded in [Belo Horizonte],” Mr Zuma said on Friday.

Firefighters search for missing persons using a hydraulic dismantling technique, which uses water to disperse mud, in Belo Horizonte

He has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the floods and landslides.

Storms and more downpours are forecast to continue across Brazil’s southeast over the next few days, according to the national metrological agency.

Vale SA, a Brazilian mining firm, raised the emergency level at a dam at its Gongo Soco mine in Minas Gerais over the weekend after heavy rainfall eroded the structure’s reservoir.

Portraits of the victims of the 25 January 2019 dam collapse on display during a tribute in Brumadinho

One year ago, one of the company’s dams collapsed in Minas Gerais, killing over 250 people.

The disaster – which has been touted as one of the worst mining disasters in the world – triggered a mudslide which destroyed buildings and covered neighbouring areas with waste.

Commemorations were held for victims of the 2019 collapse in Brumadinho on Saturday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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