Torrential rains in Brazil kill at least 106 people


The 100 dead mark after torrential rains in northeastern Brazil was crossed on Tuesday, as rescuers found 106 bodies after floods and landslides that devastated the Recife region.

The government of the state of Pernambuco, of which Recife is the capital, had counted 100 dead in its previous report, in the morning.

But a new statement sent in the afternoon announced that six bodies had been found in two of the worst affected areas.

Eight people are still missing and more than 400 firefighters remain mobilized for the search.

"These searches continue unabated until all these people are found," said Humberto Freire, head of Civil Defense of Pernambuco, quoted in the press release.

In Jardim Monteverde, on the border between Recife and the town of Jaboatao dos Guararapes, where several dozen people were buried by a mudslide, the search ended, the bodies of the last three people missing having been found Wednesday.

More than 6.000 people in the Recife region have lost their homes and had to be accommodated in reception structures, according to the latest report from the authorities.

A state of emergency has been declared in 24 municipalities in Pernambuco.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro flew over the flooded areas on Monday and the government released a credit of 1 billion reais (about 198 million euros) to help the victims.

The head of state has been criticized for having declared that this type of disaster was "things that happen", after in particular a similar tragedy which claimed 233 in Petropolis, near Rio de Janeiro (southeast), in February .

Other deadly floods took place at the end of last year in the state of Bahia (northeast), then in January in the southeast, in the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.

Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, it rained the equivalent of 70% of what is normally expected for the whole of May in certain areas of Pernambuco.

Natural disaster specialist José Marengo told AFP that the exceptional rainfall was due to global warming, but was above all deadly because of uncontrolled urbanization.

“Rain itself does not kill. What is deadly is the rain on homes located in risk areas, “explains this research coordinator of the National Center for Monitoring and Warning of Natural Disasters of Brazil (CEMADEN).

According to him, the authorities are "guilty" of having "allowed construction in risk areas, where poor populations live who have nowhere to go".

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: / RhuanPastoriza

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Summary of news from March 22, 2023

By The Editorial Board
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