Mudslides, floods tear Brazil, kill dozens of people

Mudslides, floods tear Brazil, kill dozens of people

Not less than 94 people have been killed in mudslides and floods that tore through a mountainous region of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state.

In a report by local authorities on Wednesday, the disaster followed three hours of torrential rain on Tuesday.

Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro said authoritatively that the number of dead could rise as searchers pick through the wreckage.

"Almost 400 people have been left homeless," he said.

“The situation is almost like war … Cars hanging from poles, cars overturned, lots of mud and water still,” Castro told reporters at the scene.

A Brazilian local television network showed houses buried beneath mud, cars being dragged away by landslides, and water swirling through Petropolis and neighbouring districts.

"Firefighters had not yet been able to access," a report says.

“It’s devastating. We never could have imagined something like this,” one fleeing resident, Elisabeth Lourenco, told the AFP news agency.

“When the rain was falling hardest, a huge amount of mud came pouring down the hillside, and some tree branches fell on my house,” said the 32-year-old manicurist, on the verge of tears.

Petropolis’s city hall said in a statement the deluge left “a high number of incidents and victims” and that rescue and recovery were continuing.

The state fire department said more than 180 soldiers had been deployed while civilians had also joined official recovery efforts.

Among them were Priscila Neves and her siblings, who looked through the mud for any sign of their disappeared parents, but found only clothing.

 Neves told The Associated Press news agency she had given up hope of finding her parents alive.