Friday, February 3, 2023

Landslide in Brazil kills two, dozens missing

Firefighters said two people were dead and at least 30 people were estimated to be missing after a landslide swept away about twenty vehicles on a highway in southern Brazil.

The landslide, which occurred on Monday, destroyed cars and trucks traveling on the BR 367 highway in the state of Paraná (south), which was hit by heavy rains for several days.

Impressive images released by firefighters show a huge brown spot moving through the green vegetation of this mountainous region.

The mud engulfed everything in its path and covered tens of meters of paved road, where vehicles were barely visible.

Bad weather greatly slowed rescue efforts, allowing two bodies and six survivors to be found, according to the latest fire brigade report.

“For more than 35 hours, 54 firefighters have been working uninterrupted,” the Paraná Security Secretariat said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

The forecast for new rain is one of the “main challenges” for rescuers in the coming hours, due to concerns there could be “new landslides”, he said.

The number of missing people is yet to be ascertained.

“We cannot specify the exact figure, as each vehicle can carry one to five people. We hypothesize that 30 to 50 may be missing,” said Paraná fire commander Manoel Vasco.

The mayor of Guaratuba, the town closest to the road hit by the collapse, on the southern coast of Paraná, is one of the survivors.

«It was terrible, the mountain fell on us and took all the cars. We are only alive by the grace of God,” Mayor Roberto Justus said in a video posted on social media.

Firefighters use drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras in search efforts in hopes of locating survivors.

Other states in southern Brazil, but also other regions of the country, continued on Wednesday under meteorological warnings for heavy rain, according to records from the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet).

In Sergipe (northeast) state, at least one person died on Wednesday morning after he was pulled inside his vehicle while driving on a highway, local media reported. According to pictures broadcast on TV, a part of the road was completely washed away due to the heavy flow of water generated by the rain.

During the last southern summer, landslides caused by heavy rains killed hundreds of people in Brazil.

The worst tragedy occurred last February, when more than 200 people died in Petropolis, a tourist town located in a mountainous area near Rio de Janeiro.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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