At least 94 are dead after heavy rains and floodwaters swept through the historic mountain town of Petropolis
Nearly 100 people have died in the historic city of Petropolis, Brazil after heavy rains triggered floods and landslides, officials said on Wednesday. Search and rescue teams are still searching for survivors.
Brazil’s national civil defense agency said on Twitter that 24 people had been rescued alive from the wreck of Petropolis – a historic summer escape for Brazil’s 19th-century monarchs known as the “imperial city”, located in the hills above Rio de Janeiro.
Videos shared on social media showed extensive damage and vehicles floating on the streets. The city’s elegant streets and Germanic architecture were almost destroyed by the flood, with little evidence of its royal charm left.
“The situation is almost like a war … Cars hanging from poles, cars overturning, a lot of mud and still water,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro told reporters.
In the Morro da Oficina neighborhood, about 80 houses were hit by landslides, causing extensive destruction.
City Hall has announced three days of mourning. In addition to the deaths, more than 300 people have been forced to leave their homes. Displaced citizens were taken to schools and shelters.
The city saw more rainfall on Tuesday than the average for the whole month of February.
President Jair Bolsonaro took to Twitter to ask his ministers to deal with the situation when he traveled to Russia. He told reporters in Moscow that federal funds would be released to “restore traffic in the region.”
Brazil has been hit by heavy rains and floods since December, threatening to delay harvests and temporarily halt mining.