The number of casualties left behind by heavy rains that hit the Brazilian State of Rio de Janeiro between late Friday and early Saturday has gone up to 17, local authorities reported Monday.
In Angra dos Reis alone, ten bodies were retrieved after succumbing to a mudslide, according to the local Fire Department. Six deaths were recorded in Paraty, while in Mesquita, in the Baixada Fluminense, a man was electrocuted.
First-responders were still searching for the missing people Monday; four in Angra dos Reis and one in Paraty. A boy, rescued alive in Paraty, was admitted in a very serious condition at the Adão Pereira Nunes State Hospital in Duque de Caxias, where he was reportedly placed under mechanical breathing support.
Paraty's City Council brought forward the mid-year school winter recess to April 4 through 18 and also canceled off-season carnival events scheduled for this month.
The City Hall of Angra dos Reis declared a state of emergency Saturday, due to the historic rainfalls recorded in 48 hours in Araçatiba, Ilha Grande (809mm), and in the district of Monsuaba (694mm).
The federal government has endorsed all measures adopted by local authorities.
With the recognition of the emergency situation, we will speed up the release of resources for humanitarian assistance, cleaning up the city, and rebuilding the destroyed public infrastructure. We will overcome yet another challenge in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In addition, we have come to bring support to the bereaved families, said National Secretary of Protection and Civil Defense Col. Alexandre Lucas in a statement after overflying the affected areas in a Navy helicopter. President Jair Bolsonaro Monday visited the Monsuaba neighborhood in Angra dos Reis, one of the most affected by the disaster.
According to the Federal Highway Police (PRF), there are six points of total interdiction on the Rio-Santos highway (BR-101) in Mangaratiba, Angra, and Paraty, due to landslides. On the border with São Paulo, in Ubatuba, there is another point totally blocked. There are still several points with partial interdiction. The PRF recommends that drivers avoid driving through the region.
Another municipality that declared an emergency on Saturday was Nova Iguaçu, where the overflow of rivers - such as the Botas - caused flooding in various parts of the city.
The federal government also announced Monday the emergency release through the Ministry of Regional Development (MDR) of R$ 2.4 million (US$ 522,284) for the city of Angra dos Reis, in southern Rio de Janeiro. The funds will be used to buy food baskets, mattresses, and personal hygiene items, in addition to cleaning and sleeping kits for some 86,000 evacuees.
Regional Development Minister Daniel Ferreira is due to visit Angra dos Reis and Paraty on Tuesday to set up the guidelines and procedures for the reconstruction of housing units destroyed by natural disasters. In Paraty, a meeting will be held with the local town hall to discuss disaster response actions.
Since Sunday, a team from the National Civil Defense is in Angra dos Reis to support the affected population and assist municipal managers in applying for federal resources. Lucas has already held meetings with Rio de Janeiro Governor Cláudio Castro and Angra dos Reis Mayor Fernando Jordão.
Financial relief measures were also announced Monday by Caixa Econômica Federal announced to support Angra dos Reis, Belford Roxo, Mangaratiba, Mesquita, Paraty, and Nova Iguaçu.
According to the bank, the Caixa truck-agency is moving to Angra dos Reis, with arrival scheduled for Wednesday (6). The mobile service unit will operate from 8 am to 4 pm, at an address to be announced, providing essential services to the population. The mobile unit offers the same services as a branch, such as assistance to beneficiaries of the federal government's Brazil Allowance; assistance to beneficiaries of the Salary Allowance; payment of FGTS; granting of credit; help in using the bank's applications, such as Caixa Tem and the FGTS app, unlocking account cards and passwords, among others. Cash transactions will be available through an ATM.
The bank also pledged to make up a technical team of architects and engineers to assist the municipalities. The municipalities will have Caixa's technical support to survey the damage and estimate costs for the recovery of ongoing works or buildings affected, such as bridges, access roads, water supply, health posts, and schools, among others of great impact to the population, said the bank.
The latest floods and landslides came six weeks after flash floods and mudslides killed 233 people in the scenic city of Petropolis, the Brazilian empire’s 19th-century summer capital, also in Rio state.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)