Damage caused by heavy rains in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao Damage caused by heavy rains in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao  (AFP or licensors)

Floods and mudslides in Brazil's Sao Paolo state

Vehicles, houses and people have been swept away in the coastal city of Sao Sebastiao.

By James Blears

Floods and mudslides have killed thirty-six people in Sao Paulo State in Brazil, with the death toll expected to rise and more torrential rain forecast. 

Four major cities have been hit and swamped with gigantic belts of rain, which have caused landslides. In the coastal city of Sao Sebastiao, 627 milimeters of rain fell from the sky in less than twenty-four hours.

Vehicles, houses and people have been swept away. Its Mayor, Felipe August, describes the situation as chaotic.Many have been evacuated to higher ground, as further rain has been forecast for the region.

It's not yet over! Traditional Carnival celebrations have been cancelled. Dealing with devastation and death is the only priority. 

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva is today visiting the region and is helping to coordinate the disaster operation. He's expressed his condolences and is promising a combined as well as coordinated effort to rescue, restore power and communications and to rebuild.

Yet lives are irreplaceable and have been lost. The Army has already sent two rescue planes to the area. The priority is to reach and extract trapped people as soon as practically possible to save as many lives as possible. 

These storms are a direct result of global warming, which is changing climates and creating extreme weather, causing this and many other disasters worldwide. 

Listen to James Blears' report

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20 February 2023, 14:07