Rain Storm Claims 106 Lives in North-East Brazil

Landslides provoked by rains in Recife A man carries a ladder amid rubble from houses damaged by heavy rains, in the Coqueiral neighbourhood, in Recife, Brazil, May 31, 2022. REUTERS/Diego Nigro
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By Patrick Jackson
BBC News

At least 106 people are now known to have died as torrential rain triggered landslides and torrents of mud near the city of Recife in north-east Brazil.

Rescue workers continue the search for people still missing after poor neighbourhoods and shanty towns were swept away in the region.

President Jair Bolsonaro posted video on social media showing him in a helicopter flying over the area.

He later said it had been too dangerous to land because of “soil instability”.

Some 1,200 rescue personnel, using boats and helicopters, were deployed in the state of Pernambuco where the disaster occurred.

Luiz Estevão Aguiar told TV Globo that he had lost 11 relatives.

“My sister, my brother-in-law, 11 people from my family died. It was difficult… I did not expect this,” he said tearfully.

Flávio José da Silva was searching for his stepfather Gilvan in the rubble of what was once his house.

He said that shortly after it collapsed, he had heard Gilvan say: “I’m here, under the ground”. “We hope to find him alive,” Mr Silva said, pointing to a pile of debris.

Deadly flooding and landslides have killed hundreds of people in Brazil over the past year.

Experts link the bad weather to La Niña, a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide.

Many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.

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