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Two dozen dead after Brazil rains cause calamity


SAO PAULO — Heavy rains in coastal areas of Brazil’s southeast have caused flooding and landslides that killed at least 24 people and dislodged hundreds of others, according to media reports on Sunday citing local authorities.

Rescue workers continue to look for victims, reconnect isolated communities and clear roads, some of which remain blocked, trapping a countless number of tourists traveling for Brazil’s Carnival celebrations.

The Sao Paulo state government confirmed 19 deaths and 566 dislodged or homeless persons after rains of more than 600 millimeters (23.62 inches) pounded the coast of Brazil’s richest state.

Weather forecasts show heavy rains will continue in Sao Paulo’s coastal area, challenging rescue workers and raising the prospect of a higher death toll.

The federal government determined the mobilization of several ministries to assist victims, restore infrastructure and start reconstruction work. 

Sao Paulo state declared a 180-day state of calamity for six cities after what experts described as an unprecedented, extreme weather event.

Operations at the port of Santos, Latin America’s largest, were interrupted amid gusts of wind exceeding 55 kpm (34.18 mph) and waves over one meter-high on Saturday, according to a local news outlet.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on his social media account he will visit the main affected areas on Monday. — Reuters

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