Torrential rains in Brazil kill eight, 13 missing

People carry their belongings after a landslide in Petropolis, Brazil, in February 2022. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides across Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state, killing at least eight people including six children and leaving 13 missing, authorities said on Saturday (April 2).

The storms battered a broad swathe of the southeastern state's Atlantic coast and caused multiple landslides, including one in the colonial tourist town of Paraty that killed a mother and five of her children, officials there said.

Two more victims were killed in the cities of Mesquita and Angra dos Reis, where another 13 people remain missing, said Congressman Marcelo Freixo, who represents the state.

In Angra, the victim was a four-year-old girl buried in a landslide, while in Mesquita, 40 kilometres north-west of Rio de Janeiro city, a 38-year-old man was electrocuted trying to help another person escape the flooding, media reports said.

Rio state has been battered by two days of heavy rain, including fierce storms on Friday night that turned streets into rivers in several cities, sweeping up cars in their path and triggering landslides - a frequent tragedy in the rainy season, especially in poor hillside communities.

Officials in Angra said the city had received 655 millimetres of rain in 48 hours, "levels never before registered in the municipality."

The storms come six weeks after flash floods and landslides killed 233 people in Petropolis, also in Rio de Janeiro state.

Brazil has been swept by a series of deadly storms in recent months that experts say are being aggravated by climate change.

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