Brazil storm death toll rises to 16 

Authorities announced Sunday that the death toll from torrential rains that prompted flash floods and landslides in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state has risen to 16, with three persons still missing.   

On April 2, 2023, rescue workers are pictured at the scene of a landslide that killed a mother and six of her children in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state. 

TV channels like Globo News brought images of a family evacuating two young children through the floodwaters in a styrofoam cooler in the Rio suburb of Belford Roxo.  

At the same time, inhabitants posted videos on social media of small alligators swimming through flooded streets. 

Three days of heavy rain have pounded a large section of the Atlantic coast of the southeastern state, the latest in a string of devastating storms in Brazil that scientists fear are being exacerbated by climate change. 

Officials said two more victims were discovered early Sunday amid the muck and wreckage left by a landslide in the Monsuaba district of Angra dos Reis, a seaside town 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Rio de Janeiro. 

According to the city authority, four children and four adults were killed. Three people reported missing in Monsuaba are still being sought by emergency personnel. According to Reuters, emergency personnel reacted to 850 pleas for assistance in less than 24 hours and saved roughly 150 individuals. 

Another landslide in the lovely colonial village of Paraty claimed the lives of a woman and her six children, ranging in age from two to seventeen. 

According to the mayor’s office, a seventh youngster was retrieved alive and transferred to the hospital, where he was in stable condition. 

Emergency workers were building floodlights, according to Mayor Fernando Jordao, to allow the search-and-rescue operation to continue into the night if necessary.  

At a press conference, he said, “Residents have been working side by side with us on the hunt. We’re going to keep working hard.” 

According to police and media accounts, a 38-year-old man was electrocuted while attempting to help another person escape the water in the Rio suburb of Mesquita. 

President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Facebook that the federal government had despatched national disaster response secretary Alexandre Lucas to the state of 17.5 million people to assist with the rescue attempt. 

Six weeks ago, flash floods and landslides killed 233 people in the picturesque city of Petropolis, the Brazilian empire’s 19th-century summer capital, which is also in Rio state. 

The unusually heavy rains turned roadways into raging rivers, sweeping up everything in their path. Mounds of mud and debris fill roadways in its aftermath, demonstrating the strength of water and making it impossible for rescuers to find survivors. 

Over the last few months, massive rain events have wreaked havoc on this corner of the planet. Flooding and landslides in Petropolis, Brazil, just north of Rio de Janeiro, killed more than 100 people and displaced hundreds of others in February. During the later months of 2021, another big rain event in northeastern Brazil killed roughly two dozen people. 

Forecasters say the weather system that caused the current downpour has passed over the area, leaving drier conditions for cleanup and recovery efforts. The second round of rain is expected to arrive this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

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