Since the torrential rains began Wednesday, 56 people have also gone missing, while nearly 4,000 have lost their homes, according to CNN Brasil. 14 municipalities declared a state of emergency
The Civil Defense in Pernambuco has urged residents living in high-risk areas around Recife to seek shelter elsewhere after rains triggered landslides there. Schools have been opened in Recife to accommodate displaced families.
Northeast Brazil is experiencing exceptionally high amounts of rain, officials said. Some areas recorded more rain in a 24-hour period over the weekend than the total volume expected for May.
Some parts of the state had rain on Monday as the rain moved towards the coast, but another 30-60mm of rain is expected in Pernambuco in the next couple of days, while isolated areas could see more than 100mm. The area could see more than half a month of rain in just four days, between Saturday on the weekend and the end of Tuesday.
Flashes – which can lead to power outages and falling debris – can reach 100 kilometers per hour.
Heavy rains over the weekend caused the fourth major flooding in five months in Brazil, according to a Reuters report, highlighting a lack of urban planning in low-income neighborhoods in much of the country. Slums – slums or shantytowns – are often erected on hillsides exposed to giving way, usually outside of major cities.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the army would help those affected and that he would travel to Recife on Monday to assess the situation.
“Our government has made available from the first moment all its means to help those affected, including the armed forces,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Paulo Camara, the state’s governor, said on Twitter that his office had provided 100 million Brazilian reals ($21 million) to help rain-affected areas. Seven other Brazilian states have offered to help and sent rescue teams to Pernambuco, according to CNN Brazil.
This means that some parts of Brazil will experience prolonged droughts as well as increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, which collectively makes them more vulnerable to flooding.
The cause of landslides is more complex, but they often occur during heavy rains in areas that have been excessively deforested and built on.
Robert Shackleford and CNN Weather’s Monica Jarrett contributed to this report. Marcelo Medeiros and Michelle Velez reported from Atlanta, Marcia Riverdosa in São Paulo, Mia Alberti in Beirut, and Amy Wodiat in London.
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