The death toll from rains in southeastern Brazil rose to 40 on Monday, official figures showed, as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited the region and said no more houses should be built in areas at risk of landslides and flash floods.
Authorities in Sao Paulo state said today that four more people had died in addition to the 36 people counted the previous day, but higher casualties were still expected as dozens of people were missing.
Lula was escorted by government ministers as he flew over the coastal town of São Sebastião, where he pledged to help rebuild the town of about 91,000 by building new homes in safer locations.
He further said that the government should work to restore the main infrastructure facilities like roads damaged by landslides.
The Sao Paulo floods are the latest in a series of disasters to hit Brazil recently, with unplanned construction, often in mountainous areas, having tragic consequences during Brazil’s rainy season.
Flooding occurred during the Carnival holiday season in Brazil, with thousands of people flocking to the region’s beaches, potentially increasing the human toll from the natural disaster.
The epicenter of the flooding was the city of São Sebastião, where 39 deaths were reported.
More than 2,000 people had to flee their homes after more than 600 millimeters of rain fell on the coast of Brazil’s richest state, the government said.
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