Heavy rain kills dozens in Brazil as cities cancel Carnival celebrations

Girl, 7, among dead as rescue teams struggle to find survivors amid flooding and landslides

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Heavy rain caused floods and landslides that have killed 36 in Brazil's Sao Paulo state, with officials saying they expect the death toll to rise.

Sao Paulo's government said on Sunday that 35 people died in Sao Sebastiao town while a girl, 7, was killed in neighbouring Ubatuba.

The municipalities of Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga were the hardest-hit by the floods and landslides.

Carnival celebrations were cancelled in the towns as rescue teams struggled to find injured people and bodies in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

“Our rescue teams are not managing to get to several locations. It is a chaotic situation,” said Sao Sebastiao mayor Felipe Augusto.

He later said dozens of people were missing and 50 houses had collapsed in the city as a result of the landslides.

Mr Augusto posted several videos on social media that showed widespread destruction in his city, including one of a baby being rescued by people on a flooded street.

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Twitter that he would visit the region on Monday.

A motorway blocked by a landslide in Ubatuba town, in Brazil's Sao Paulo state, on Sunday. AFP

Sao Paulo's government said precipitation in the region had surpassed 600mm in one day, one of the highest amounts of rain Brazil has received in such a short period.

Bertioga alone had 687mm of rain during that period, the state government said.

Governor Tarcisio de Freitas said he requested support from the army, which sent two planes and rescue teams to the region.

TV footage showed houses flooded, with only the roof visible.

Residents are using small boats to carry items and people to higher ground. A road connecting Rio de Janeiro to the port city of Santos was blocked by landslides and floodwaters.

The northern coast of Sao Paulo is a frequent Carnival destination for wealthy tourists who prefer to stay away from street parties in cities.

Updated: February 20, 2023, 5:40 AM