At least 35 dead as heavy rains batter Brazil

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At least 35 dead as heavy rains batter Brazil

On Friday and Saturday, at least 35 people have died due to heavy rainfall in north-eastern Brazil as downpours hit two major cities on the Atlantic coast, in what is the South American nation's fourth major flooding event in five months.

According to the state s official Twitter account, there were 33 deaths in the state of Pernambuco as rains caused landslides that wiped away hillside urban neighbourhoods. Another 765 people were forced to leave their homes, at least temporarily, according to the state government.

According to Brazil's federal emergency service, authorities in the neighbouring state of Alagoas had registered two deaths.

At least 18 died in the south-eastern state of S o Paulo later in January. More than 230 people were killed in the month of February due to torrential downpours in the Rio de Janeiro state.

During the last few months of the year, unusually intense rains began to arrive in Brazil, while much of the country spent the majority of 2021 in a severe drought.

The often-deadly flooding that followed has provoked debate over the potential role of the climate crisis in Brazil's volatile weather pattern and has focused attention on the nation's often haphazard urban planning.

Many deaths occurred in the state capital Recife on Friday and Saturday. Many of Recife's neighbourhoods have been built in areas that are vulnerable to land and mudslides, as in many urban areas in Brazil.

The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was putting up a federal taskforce to send to Pernambuco on Saturday, according to local media.

His main opponent in the October presidential election, leftist Luiz In cio Lula da Silva, lamented the flooding on Twitter. He wrote of his solidarity to the families in the Recife metropolitan area who are suffering from the strong rains.