Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17 Feb (ONA) --- Rio de Janeiro s government has confirmed 94 deaths from floods and mudslides that swept away homes and cars in the city of Petropolis. But even as families prepared to bury their dead, it was unclear today how many bodies remained trapped in the mud.
More than 24 hours after the deadly deluge early Tuesday, survivors were digging to find lost loved ones. Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecutors’ office said in a statement last night that it had compiled a list of 35 people yet to be located.
Footage posted on social media showed torrents dragging cars and houses through the streets and water swirling through the city. One video showed two buses sinking into a swollen river as its passengers clambered out the windows, scrambling for safety. Some didn’t make it to the banks and were washed away, out of sight.
The stricken mountain region has seen similar catastrophes in recent decades, including one that caused more than 900 deaths. In the years since, Petropolis presented a plan to reduce risks of landslides, but works have been advancing only slowly. The plan, presented in 2017, was based on analysis determining that 18% of the city’s territory was at high risk for landslides and flooding.
Southeastern Brazil has been punished with heavy rains since the start of the year, with more than 40 deaths recorded between incidents in Minas Gerais state in early January and Sao Paulo state later the same month.