At least 94 people have died in the historic Brazilian mountain town of Petropolis after heavy rains caused mudslides that buried homes, flooded the streets and washed away cars and buses.
Located in the hills above Rio de Janeiro, Petropolis, or the “Imperial City”, was the summer getaway of Brazil’s monarchs in the 19th century.
On Wednesday, there was scant evidence of its regal charms, after the floods ravaged its elegant streets and destroyed its Germanic buildings after rainfall on Tuesday exceeded the average for the entire month of February.
In the Morro da Oficina neighbourhood, up to 80 houses were hit by landslides, according to authorities who expect the death toll to rise.
Petropolis’s city hall declared three days of mourning. Displaced people were being taken to schools and shelters. More than 300 people had to leave their homes.
Since December, heavy rains have triggered deadly floods and landslides in northeast Brazil and Sao Paulo state, threatened to delay harvests in the nation’s central western region and briefly forced the suspension of mining operations in the state of Minas Gerais.