Torrential rain pummelled Northeastern Brazil, causing catastrophic landslides. Authorities in the Pernambuco state have confirmed that 106 people are dead and at least eight people are still unaccounted for, CBS and AFP reported. Thousands of people have been displaced by the flooding and landslides as well.
The rain began last week and the landslides struck by Friday, damaging homes in favelas across the cities of Recife and Jaboatao dos Guararapes, the Guardian reports. Homes in favelas are often belong to impoverished communities and tend to be built into hillsides, making them prone to damage from natural disasters and extreme weather.
Photos of the disaster zones throughout Brazil show collapsed walls, mud-caked walls, and people trudging through what look like thick layers of brown sludge. The debris and heavy mud is making rescue efforts more difficult, and time is running out to find more people alive in some of the ruins.
This disaster is just one of several landslides that have occurred in the country this year. In February, intense rain followed by flooding in Petrópolis, a Southeast municipality in Brazil, triggered a massive landslide, Yale Climate Connections reported. More than 230 people were confirmed dead as a result of that disaster.
The climate crisis has changed precipitation in many parts of the world, causing more intense and more frequent rainfall. This means more downpours, more flooding, and more potential landslides are going to strike in communities across Brazil and elsewhere that are often not prepared for these disasters.
Sadly, the affected areas are still at risk for more landslides this week.
Internally displaced residents
According to the Guardian, about 5,000 people have been displaced from their homes after the flooding and landslides.
Extensive infrastructure damage
Entire structures have been destroyed by the flooding and landslides in Recife, Brazil.
Rescue workers searching
Hundreds of federal and state rescue workers helped residents and searched for survivors.
After the landslide, mud and debris has covered homes and streets in the affected areas. This is making rescue work challenging.
Entire homes have been destroyed by the natural disaster, and parts of homes have added to the debris in the affected neighbourhoods.
Recovering and removing bodies
Rescue workers are not only helping favela residents who are displaced, but they are working to find bodies of deceased residents as well. There’s a possibility of more confirmed deaths as workers continue to search in the affected areas.