Heavy rains in coastal areas of Brazil’s southeast have caused flooding and landslides that killed 36 people and dislodged hundreds of others, according to a statement from São Paulo state authorities on Sunday.
Rescue workers continue to look for victims, reconnect isolated communities and clear roads, some of which remain blocked, trapping an undetermined number of tourists who traveled for Brazil’s Carnival celebrations.
Weather forecasts show heavy rains will continue in São Paulo’s coastal area, challenging civil defense and fire department rescue teams and raising the prospect of a higher death toll.
In the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, 36 people became victims of heavy rains caused by a tropical cyclone:
The impact of the elements led to numerous floods and landslides, destruction of residential buildings and infrastructure facilities. Dozens of people are missing. pic.twitter.com/QSCcO52NB9
— 301 Military (@301military) February 20, 2023
The federal government determined the mobilization of several ministries to assist victims, restore infrastructure and start reconstruction work. São Paulo state declared a 180-day state of calamity for six cities after what experts described as an unprecedented, extreme weather event.
On Monday, São Paulo Governor Tarcisio de Freitas will meet federal officials as they coordinate the response to the tragedy, the statement said.
Operations at the port of Santos, Latin America’s largest, were interrupted amid wind gusts exceeding 55 kpm (34 mph) and waves over one meter high on Saturday, according to a local news outlet.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was spending the carnival in Bahia state in Brazil’s northeast, is set to visit the main affected areas on Monday, his office said.