At least 36 people have been killed in flooding and landslides in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, leading to the cancellation of annual Carnival celebrations in some cities.
Flooded motorways, submerged neighborhoods, and debris from swept away houses were seen in videos circulating online. Rescue teams are struggling to reach survivors and clear blocked roads, with over 600mm of rain falling in some areas on Sunday, twice the expected amount for the month.
Felipe Augusto, the mayor of the hard-hit town of São Sebastião, said dozens of people were missing, and around 50 houses had collapsed and been washed away.
Hundreds have been displaced and evacuated, and a civil defense official reportedly told Folha de São Paulo that there would likely be many more deaths.
Another 228 people were left homeless, with 338 more evacuated from coastal regions north of São Paulo.
The festival usually lasts for five days in the run-up to the Christian festival of Lent and is synonymous with Brazil.
Latin America’s largest port in Santos was also shut due to high winds and waves.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to bring authorities together to provide healthcare and rescue teams and declared a 180-day state of calamity in six towns.
Extreme weather events are expected to become more common as the impacts of climate change take hold.
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