When heavy rains hit Brazil’s Petrópolis city on Tuesday, which carried on the days, the city is a tragic sight shrouded with thick dense fog five days after the flash floods which took over 171 lives with more than 120 still missing in Brazil flood-hit city and the victims include at least 27 children and teenagers among the 171, while more than 120 are still missing, officials say.
Streets were turned into rivers and houses swept away like matchboxes when torrential rains and storms poured out a month’s worth of rain in three hours on the picturesque tourist town in the hills north of Rio de Janeiro.
Continuous downpours have hampered the work of emergency teams, with authorities saying it is doubtful anyone will be found alive. There are over 900 people being housed in schools and shelters.
Workers are frantically digging with spades and shovels through the rubble and muck, with teams of volunteers helping in the efforts, massive search operations carried out with hand tools and chainsaws in unstable areas, with teams being helped by 41 sniffer dogs.
Here is one of the worst-hit neighborhoods, up to 80 houses on a hillside were hit by landslides.
On Sunday, a huge clean-up effort retrieved more than 300 vehicles that had been swept away by the floods as the city, a popular tourist getaway north of Rio de Janeiro, tries to reopen for business.
“We need our streets clear so we can speed up the job of getting our city back on its feet,” Mayor Rubens Bomtempo said.
Tuesday’s rainfall surpassed the average for the whole of February, activating landslides and floods. President Jair Bolsonaro, who flew over the disaster zone on Friday, said the city was suffering from “enormous destruction, like scenes of war”.