No fewer than 18 people have been confirmed dead after heavy rains caused landslides and floods in a hilly town in the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The Rio de Janeiro Fire Department said that more than 180 firefighters were already at Petropolis, searching for survivors in the town, now badly damaged from heavy rains.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted “May God comfort the family members of the victims, adding that he had asked his ministers to deliver immediate support to those affected.
Bolsonaro is currently in Russia on a trip he planned before the Ukraine crisis arose.
According to Rio de Janeiro’s fire department, the area had received nearly 29 centimetres (just over 10 inches) of rain within three hours during the day. This is as much rain as the region received in the last 30 days combined.
Petropolis’ city hall issued a statement, saying heavy rains had left a “higher number of incidents and victims” and that rescue efforts were underway.
Recall that hundreds of people had died in Petropolis because of heavy rains and floods in 2011.
Footages on Social media show cars and houses being washed by landslides, and floodwater inundating the town of Petropolis and neighbouring districts.
Story was adapted from DW.