Aerial view showing rescuers in the destruction path left by a landslide after torrential rain in the Barra do Sahy district in Sao Sebastiao, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, on Feb 21, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
SAO PAULO – The death toll from landslides caused by heavy rains on the coast of Brazil's Sao Paulo state over the weekend has risen to 54, as rescuers continue to search for dozens of missing people under mountains of mud, officials confirmed Friday.
Rescue teams have identified 13 minors among the dead, the Sao Paulo state government said in a statement.
The municipalities of Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Caraguatuatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga were the most severely affected by the rainfall, which in less than 24 hours was twice as heavy as expected for all of February
The municipalities of Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Caraguatuatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga were the most severely affected by the rainfall, which in less than 24 hours was twice as heavy as expected for all of February, marking a new record in Brazil.
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The rains caused landslides in the Serra do Mar mountain range along the coast, where key tourist resorts are located, sweeping away homes in poor neighborhoods on the hillsides, where about 4,000 people fled or lost their homes.
The disaster is focused in Vila do Sahy, the most affected community, located next to the exclusive beaches of Baleia and Camburi, in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed this week to the Sao Sebastiao mayor's office the construction of housing in flat areas outside risk areas for those who have lost their homes.
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In addition, Sao Paulo governor Tarcisio de Freitas proposed the installation of a siren system, like that in other mountain areas at risk of landslides, since the telephone warning system in use was not effective.