SAO PAULO, Brazil — The death toll rose to 105, with 140 people still missing, due to landslides and floods caused by heavy rains on Tuesday in the Brazilian city of Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro state, local authorities reported Thursday.
According to the Rio de Janeiro civil defense authorities, at least 400 firefighters are working with Army personnel to search for survivors, after a large part of Petropolis was destroyed by landslides and floods.
Heavy rains on Tuesday in the mountainous city, located about 68 km north of the city of Rio de Janeiro, triggered over 50 landslides.
More than 500 families were evacuated, while the power grid and drinking water supply were also affected.
Governor of Rio de Janeiro state Claudio Castro likened the conditions to a “war situation,” while the Petropolis mayor’s office decreed a state of public disaster and issued an alert to the population about the possibility of more downpours in the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation indicated that the risks of new landslides were “very high,” since the intense rains raised the level of moisture in the soil, which in turn generates the possibility of new large-scale precipitation.