Death toll from rains in Brazil rises to 45


Brasilia, January 28, 2020

The death toll from the heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has risen to 45, officials said, adding that a state of emergency had been declared in 101 cities.

The Minas Gerais emergency management office said on Monday that 18 people were listed as missing and 13,887 others had been forced from their homes, reports Efe news.

Search teams found the body of the latest victim in the rubble left behind by a mudslide, emergency management officials said.

The rain let up a bit on Sunday and Monday, allowing firefighters to focus on searching for people who had been reported missing when their dwellings were swept away by mudslides.

Meanwhile, the Minas Gerais state government on Monday declared a state of emergency in 101 cities affected by the torrential rains, while disaster declarations were issued for the cities of Catas Altas, Ibirite and Orizania.

On January 24, the state capital Belo Horizonte set a rainfall record for a 24-hour period with 171.8 mm, marking the most rain to fall in the city since the national weather service began keeping records 110 years ago.

In addition to flooding and mudslides, the rains in the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area made rivers overflow their banks, toppled trees and power poles, washed out roads and caused a building that was under construction to collapse.

In the neighbouring state of Espiritu Santo, which has been battered by the torrential rains for the past week, nine people have died over a 10-day period.

A state of emergency has been declared for several cities in Espiritu Santo.