Death toll from Brazil downpours rises to 46; more rain forecast
The death toll from heavy rains that devastated coastal areas of Brazil's southeastern Sao Paulo state rose to 46 people on Tuesday, according to officials, with more precipitation expected.
Massive rainfalls over the weekend have caused landslides and flooding in coastal towns in the southeast of the country. Almost 2,500 people are still displaced or homeless, the Sao Paulo state government said in a statement, adding that rescue work is ongoing.
The city of Sao Sebastiao bore the brunt of the human toll, with 45 of the reported deaths.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva flew over the city alongside cabinet ministers on Monday, pledging to rebuild the town of some 91,000 people by constructing new houses in safer places.
More rain is forecast for the city in the coming days. The Sao Sebastiao government said that by Friday another 200 millimeters (nearly 8 inches) of rain are expected to hit the region and warned of further risks of landslides and flooding.
Since the weekend, the coastal area of the country's wealthiest state was hit by more than 600 millimeters (23.6 inches) of rain, which the government said was the highest cumulative figure ever in Brazil.
The floods in coastal Sao Paulo state were the latest in a series of such disasters to recently strike Brazil, where shoddy construction, often on hillsides, can have tragic consequences during the country's rainy season.
Sao Paulo state Governor Tarcisio de Freitas said the Navy would build a field hospital for victims starting on Thursday.
"There will be up to 300 beds in the infirmary, with orthopedic, clinical, trauma, and psychiatric professionals," said Freitas.
The deluge happened as tourists thronged to Brazil's beaches during the annual Carnival holiday, likely making the human toll much worse.