June 8, 2023


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138 people died in Petropolis and emergency services are still on duty

Rescue teams on Saturday found new bodies beneath piles of mud, killing at least 138 people, including 26 children, in floods and landslides in the Brazilian city of Petropolis (southeast). In the thick fog, rescue workers identified by orange clothing continued. Five days after the disaster, search using shovels and spades to locate the missing.

Heavy rains lashed the city of 300,000 people 60 km north of Rio on Tuesday, turning the streets into mud and causing landslides. Petropolis received above-average rainfall throughout February. With more than 500 firefighters, helicopters, excavators and sniffer dogs, the chances of finding survivors are increasingly slim, though.

24 survivors

In the Aldo Sera district, where about 80 houses were surrounded by landslides, rescue workers carried two bodies in body bags in the morning, the AFP photographer said. As with relief work during earthquakes, rescue workers try to calm people down and detect signs of life by blowing powerful whistles from time to time.

In the area, officials say the mountain, full of mud and debris, is unstable. Therefore, searches are carried out using hand tools and chainsaws in the most difficult places to reach. Since the search began, 24 people have been found alive, but mainly within hours of the disaster, according to officials. The number of missing is not yet clear. Police announced the number of 218 on Friday. But he did not specify whether he had counted the bodies that had not yet been identified or the persons that had already been found.

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So far, 91 bodies have been identified from the 138 found, and 72 are buried in the city’s main cemetery, including 19 on Saturday morning alone. President Jair Bolzano, who flew over the disaster areas on Friday, described the “scenes of the war.” The Australian summer in Brazil has been particularly deadly, with dozens of people killed in recent months by torrential rains in the provinces of Bahia (northeast), Minas Gerais and S பாo Paulo (southeast). According to experts, this intense rainfall is linked to global warming.