After landslides and flooding as a result of heavy rain, the number of dead in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro has now risen to at least 204. This was reported by the Brazilian news portal "G1" with reference to the fire department on Wednesday. Another at least 51 people were still missing, according to "G1". Nearly 1,000 people were left homeless.
The search is repeatedly hampered by wind and persistent rain. On Tuesday evening, it had rained so heavily that streets in Petrópolis were flooded again. Many of the relatives and friends are searching for missing people themselves - like the father of a teenager who had been swept into a river by a bus.
"It's no use talking to one, talking to the others and wasting time while my son is there somewhere, and many other people are there somewhere too," "G1" quoted Leandro da Rocha as saying. "We have to find them."
On Tuesday last week, it had rained more in six hours than had been expected for the entire month of February, according to weather broadcaster Climatempo. Slopes slid, roads flooded, and cars and even buses were swept away by the waters. "It was the worst rain in Petrópolis since 1932," said the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Cláudio Castro.
Petrópolis, which was influenced by German immigrants, was once the summer residence of the Brazilian imperial family. Today, the city's high altitude and cool climate in the southern hemisphere summer months make it popular with Rio residents as a vacation spot.
Image by Hans Braxmeier