Dozens Dead Amid Heavy Rains in Brazil; Cities Cancel Carnival




Sao Paulo — Brazilian authorities said on Sunday that at least 26 people died in two cities in north Sao Paulo state amid floods and landslides, and the number could rise.

Sao Sebastiao officials confirmed 25 people died, and the mayor of Ubatuba said a 7-year-old girl was killed.

The cities of Sao Sebastiao, Ubatuba, Ilhabela and Bertioga, some of the hardest hit and now under state of emergency, canceled their Carnival festivities as rescue teams struggle to find people missing, injured and feared dead in the rubble.

’Our rescue teams are not managing to get to several locations; it is a chaotic situation,’ said Felipe Augusto, the mayor of Sao Sebastiao. Later, he said dozens of people are missing and that 50 houses collapsed in the city because of landslides.

Augusto posted in his social media channels several videos of widespread destruction in his city, including one of baby being rescued by locals lined up on a flooded street.

This handout picture released by Sao Sebastiao City Hall shows military police helping flood victims in the municipality of sao Sebastiao, north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil on Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo by Sao Sebastiao City Hall / AFP) This handout picture released by Sao Sebastiao City Hall shows military police helping flood victims in the municipality of sao Sebastiao, north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil on Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo by Sao Sebastiao City Hall / AFP)

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Twitter he will visit the region on Monday.

Sao Paulo state government said in a statement that precipitation in the region has surpassed 600 millimeters in one day, one of the highest amounts ever in Brazil in such a short period.

Bertioga alone had 687 millimeters during that period, the state government said.

Governor Tarcisio de Freitas said in a statement he had requested support from the army, which sent two airplanes and rescue teams to the region.

TV footage showed flooded houses with only the roof visible. Residents are using small boats to carry items and people to higher ground. A road that connects Rio de Janeiro to the port city of Santos was blocked by landslides and floodwaters.

This handout picture released by Sao Sebastiao City Hall shows the damage caused by heavy rains in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao, north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo by Sao Sebastiao City Hall / AFP) This handout picture released by Sao Sebastiao City Hall shows the damage caused by heavy rains in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao, north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2023. (Photo by Sao Sebastiao City Hall / AFP)

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