Landslides in Brazil: Dozens missing, possibly buried in mud

View of a heavily flooded area in the Juquehy neighborhood of Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on February 20, 2023. The are...

44 people have now died as a result of landslides that occurred over the weekend in coastal towns in Brazil's state of Sao Paulo.

There are still over 40 people missing.

To search the mud for survivors, locals have teamed up with rescuers.

After a record amount of rain fell in the coastal region east of So Paulo, more than 750 people lost their homes due to torrents of earth and rock that came loose from hillsides.

According to meteorologists, the municipality of Bertioga received more than 680mm (26 inches) of rain in the course of just one day.

However, all but one of the fatalities occurred in the town of So Sebastio, 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the north of Bertioga.

Numerous kids are among the victims. A two-ton boulder that struck a girl's home and killed her.

A tree that was falling struck another woman. The majority of the remaining people were buried in the mud that slid down the hillside.

A cold front with a combination of very specific characteristics, according to meteorologist Marcelo Seluchi, caused an "extreme and historic" weather event, including heavy rains as well as high swells that made it difficult for any of the rain to drain away.

The force of the water that came rushing down could not be supported by many of the temporary homes constructed on steep hillsides.

According to estimates, more than nine million Brazilians reside in areas vulnerable to mudslides or flooding.

Some people left their homes to seek shelter in stronger structures as more torrential rain was predicted to fall in the coming days.

Families looking to unwind by the sea had made the area particularly crowded during the carnival season.

Visitors have been urged to go home after some of the landslides-made impassable roads were cleared, easing the burden on aid and services in the affected towns.

In Brazil, landslides and flooding are frequent occurrences. When torrential rains caused mudslides in the historic town of Petrópolis, north of Rio de Janeiro, more than 230 people were killed last year.

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