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Record-breaking rain hits Rio de Janeiro, causing severe floods and landslides, Brazil

At least 16 people have been killed and 16 others remain missing after record-breaking rains triggered severe flash floods and landslides in the Baixada Fluminense and Costa Verde regions of Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil.

Heavy rains across the state began on Thursday night, March 31, and continued through Saturday, April 2. Firefighters confirmed the deaths of six people in Angra, about a three-hour drive from Rio de Janeiro city, and six more deaths in the nearby municipalities of Paraty and Mesquita. At least 16 people were still missing, as of April 3, 2022.1

By Monday, April 4, the number of fatalities rose to 16.

The worst affected was the popular tourist town of Paraty, located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

A destructive landslide hit the town’s Ponta Negra neighborhood on Saturday, killing a mother and five of her children, ages two, five, eight, 10, and 15. A sixth child was rescued alive and taken to the hospital, officials said. In all, seven houses were swept away in landslides in the city, and another four people were injured. 71 families were forced from their homes, officials said.2

Two more victims were killed in the cities of Mesquita and Angra dos Reis, where another 13 people remain missing, said Congressman Marcelo Freixo.

The municipality of Angra dos Reis received 809 mm (31.8 inches) of rain in 48 hours to April 2, causing deadly floods and landslides.

The volume of rain registered in 48 hours was the highest on record in Angra dos Reis, according to the city’s municipal government.

On Sunday, April 3, the mayor of Angra dos Reis, Fernando Jordão, asked federal authorities to shut down Brazil’s only nuclear power plant, saying nearby roads had been affected by landslides and flooding, jeopardizing the plant’s emergency plans.

The latest floods and landslides come just six weeks after flash floods and landslides killed at least 233 people in Petropolis.3

References:

1 Death toll in Rio de Janeiro landslides climbs to 12 – AP

2 Brazil: Floods and landslides kill eight, 13 missing – AFP

3 Petropolis landslide death toll rises to 152, more than 120 still missing, Brazil – The Watchers

Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS, TW. Acquired on April 1, 2022

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