Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Sunday announced he would be traveling first thing Monday to Recife to see for himself the devastation caused by yet another rainstorm in the country's northeast, which has left at least 84 dead, and over 50 missing as figures are updated constantly.
Bolsonaro said he needed to better understand the tragedy for which the federal government has deployed the armed forces as well as officials from the Education Ministry and other areas of the administration that might be of help.
We will take disaster kit to important strategic points, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted Sunday.
It is the worst disaster in the last 50 years in Recife, according to Pernambuco Governor Paulo Camara, who also reported that 79 of the 84 victims had died between Friday night and Sunday.
Camara also pointed out the exact number of people missing persons was still being determined, although according to preliminary assessments it would be at least 56.
Of the total number of deaths caused by landslides and floods, most were recorded in the metropolitan region of Recife, the most affected by the storm that has been raging in northeastern Brazil since the beginning of this week.
The most tragic episode took place in the Jardim Monte Verde neighborhood, bordering Recife and Jaboatao dos Guararapes, where 20 people died when a landslide swept away dozens of houses on small hills.
First responders continued the search through Sunday as the rain returned to the region after a short lull and at least one person was found dead in Jardim Monte Verde, according to EFE.
Jardim Monte Verde Neighborhood Association President Elvio Miranda warned of new tragedies in the shantytown where people were stranded. The families must be evacuated from the risk areas and new housing must be found for them because otherwise many tragedies are going to occur in Recife. There is an imminent risk, and other tragedies' probability is great, Miranda said.
Recife Mayor Joao Campos described the situation as extremely challenging and pointed out that the meteorological phenomenon is completely atypical. Unfortunately, it is the biggest disaster in the last 50 years recorded in the metropolitan region of Recife, Campos highlighted.
Regional Development Minister Daniel Ferreira told reporters in Recife that some 4,000 people have also lost their homes or were evacuated as a precaution. Joining Ferreira and Quiroga were the Ministers of Tourism, Carlos Brito, and of Citizenship, Ronaldo Bento.
The Recife tragedy comes two and a half months after rainfall killed more than 230 people in Petrópolis, in the Rio de Janeiro highlands.