Brazilian authorities have reported that at least 26 people have lost their lives in two cities in north Sao Paulo state due to deadly floods and landslides, and the death toll could increase. The city hall of Sao Sebastiao 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, among the hardest hit and now under a state of calamity, canceled their Carnival festivities as rescue teams struggle to find those missing, injured, and feared dead.
“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 added that dozens of people were missing and that 50 houses collapsed in the city due to the landslides. Augusto posted several videos of widespread destruction in his city, including one of a baby being rescued by locals lined up on a street effected by deadly floods and landslides.
The state government said that precipitation in the region has surpassed 600 millimeters (23.6 inches) in one day, one of the highest amounts ever in Brazil in such a short period. Bertioga alone had 687 millimeters during that period. Gov. Tarcisio de Freitas requested support from the army, which sent two airplanes and rescue teams to the region.
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. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Twitter that he would visit the region on Monday. The floods and landslides have disrupted the Carnival celebrations in the region, and with the death toll expected to rise, the nation mourns the loss of lives and prays for the safety of those affected.