RIO DE JANEIRO: The number of deaths caused by catastrophic rains in Brazil’s north-eastern Pernambuco state has increased to 44, with another 56 people missing, Regional Development Minister Daniel Ferreira said on Sunday.
Twenty-five people were injured in the violent storms around the port city of Recife and nearly 4,000 people lost their homes, he said.
On Saturday alone, 30 people died due to the severe weather, which began in the middle of the week and caused numerous landslides amid the torrential downpours.
In the greater Recife area, more than 200 millilitres of rain fell within 24 hours, according to the Pernambuco state government.
“Although it has stopped raining for now, we expect more heavy rains in the coming days. So the most important thing is to maintain protective measures’’, Ferreira said.
President Jair Bolsonaro, in a tweet, expressed his “sorrow and solidarity to the victims of this sad disaster” and said his government will do everything possible “to alleviate the suffering.”
He added that teams from the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Citizenship are being deployed “to assist in relief operations and provide the necessary aid to affected families.” Videos posted on social media show wide flooded avenues in several municipalities, collapsing houses and landslides.
According to meteorologist Estael Sias, of the MetSul agency, the heavy rains lashing Pernambuco and, to a lesser extent, four other northeastern states, are the product of a typical seasonal phenomenon called “eastern waves.” — dpa