At least 28 people were killed on Saturday in Brazil after heavy rains lashed the metropolitan area of Recife, the capital of northeastern Pernambuco state, officials said.
“28 deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours,” the Civil Defense said in a statement.
The most dramatic incident occurred early in the morning when 19 people were killed in a major landslide in the community of Jardim Monteverde on the border between Recife and the municipality of Jabatao dos Guararapes.
Six others were killed in another landslide in Kamaragibe Municipality. Two died in Recife and one in Jabatao dos Guararapes.
The death toll in the state has now gone up to 33 since the rains started in the state on Tuesday night.
“Five other deaths have already occurred during Tuesday’s storm,” the statement said.
According to local press, three people died in a landslide in Olinda, and a fourth person died after falling into a canal, also in Olinda.
Heavy rains have forced nearly 1,000 people to leave their homes due to floods and landslides.
Videos posted on social media showed flood paths, collapsed homes and landslides in several municipalities.
According to the mayor’s office, between Friday night and Saturday, parts of the capital Pernambuco reached 236 millimeters (9 inches) of rain.
This equates to over 70% of the forecast for the entire month of May in the city.
The Pernambuco Water and Climate Agency said the situation could worsen as rain would continue in the state for the next 24 hours.
Over the past year, hundreds of Brazilians have been killed in floods and landslides caused by torrential rains.
In February, more than 230 people were killed in the city of Petrópolis, the 19th-century summer capital of the Kingdom of Brazil, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Heavy rains in the area turned roads into fast rivers and triggered landslides in the poor mountainous areas, which wiped out almost everything in their path.
Earlier last month, 14 more people were killed in floods and landslides in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Officials said the victims included a mother and her six children, who were buried after their house was washed away in a landslide.
Experts say that the rain during the rainy season in Brazil is being augmented by La Nia – the cyclic cooling of the Pacific Ocean – and climate change.
Because warmer environments hold more water, extreme rainfall from global warming increases the risk and intensity of flooding.