at least 56 dead and 56 missing after heavy rains in the Northeast

Flooded avenues, collapsing houses, landslides… The torrential rains that have hit the Recife region since Tuesday, capital of the state of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, have killed at least 56 people , according to the latest report announced on Sunday 29 May. “As of Sunday, 56 people have been confirmed dead and 56 others are still missing in the municipalities of Recife and Olinda. There are also 3,957 homeless people,” Pernambuco Civil Defense said in a statement.

A previous report from the Civil Defense spoke of 34 dead, since Wednesday, as well as more than 1,300 displaced or homeless people, without estimating the number of missing. The most serious accident occurred early Saturday, when 19 people died in a “significant landslide” at Jardim Monteverde, a region with slums. Six other people were killed in another landslide in the municipality of Camaragibe. Two died in Recife and another in Jaboatao dos Guararapes. President Jair Bolsonaro expressed on Twitter ses “condolences and solidarity with the victims of this sad disaster”.

Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, rainfall reached 236 millimeters in parts of Recife, according to the town hall. That equates to more than 70% of the city’s entire May rainfall forecast. According to the Pernambuco water and climate agency, the situation could worsen as the rains will continue for the next 24 hours in the state.

Over the past year, hundreds of Brazilians have died in floods and landslides caused by heavy rains. In February, more than 230 people were killed in the city of Petropolis, the former capital of the Empire of Brazil in the 19th century, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

By making the atmosphere warmer and also more humid, global warming increases the risk and intensity of flooding caused by extreme rainfall.