Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Death toll from torrential Brazil storms rises to 53, officials say




Death toll from torrential Brazil storms rises to 53, officials say

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rescue workers were searching for survivors on Sunday after a landslide in Belo Horizonte, the capital of storm-hit Minas Gerais state in Brazil. AFP

Death toll from torrential Brazil storms rises to 53, officials say

The death toll from days of intense storms and flooding in southeastern Brazil has risen to 53, authorities said on Sunday.

In addition to the dead, the number of injured stands at 12 and that of the missing was lowered from 25 to 19, local Civil Defense officials said.

The dead have yet to be identified. Many were buried by landslides or in the debris of collapsed houses, which in many poorer parts of Brazil are shoddily built.

Officials said some 17,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in 58 towns and cities across Minas Gerais state, including in the capital Belo Horizonte, as well as in nearby areas. More than 10,000 others had to flee in two neighbouring states.

Images taken from the ground and the air, some posted on social media, showed the vast sweep of the disaster, with damaged houses, fallen trees and downed utility poles, overflowing rivers, collapsed bridges and flooded neighbourhoods.

The torrential rains – the worst since records were first kept 110 years ago – eased off on Sunday, but authorities said the risk of new landslides would continue through Friday in towns in the Belo Horizonte area.

From India, where he is on an official trip, President Jair Bolsonaro said the government was doing “everything possible”, while adding that in such a large area “it is difficult to serve everyone”.

Regional Development Minister Gustavo Canuto and Governor Romeu Zema of Minas Gerais state flew over the affected area and promised afterwards in a news conference to prioritize humanitarian aid for the homeless. They announced immediate aid of 90 million reais ($22 million).

“At this time, the most important thing is to not allow bureaucracy to delay resources from arriving at the afflicted municipalities,” Canuto was quoted by local daily Folha de Sao Paulo as saying.

Zema warned that without consistent, long-term public policies to reduce areas at risk, “we will see things like this many times over”.

But in Vila Bernadete, a neighbourhood on the edge of Belo Horizonte where six people died in a landslide that toppled seven hillside homes, a resident, Audemar Carneiro, said the area had never seemed at risk.

“Nothing like this has ever happened here. It was a fairly safe place . . . It was an unannounced tragedy,” the 51-year-old said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session