A rain-soaked slab of hillside collapsed on three houses and an upscale waterfront lodge after New Year’s celebrations on an island resort in this city near Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 19 people, authorities said. Another mudslide elsewhere in the city killed 11.
Ten people were injured by the resort slide early on Friday, and about 120 rescuers scrambled through mud and around toppled trees and large rocks to search for more survivors. Police helicopters and navy vessels helped in the rescue effort.
In addition to the two deadly mudslides in Angra dos Reis, local authorities said nearly 80 mudslides were reported throughout the region, toppling trees and destroying power lines. Rain-related deaths in Rio de Janeiro state from three days of heavy rains reached 50, officials said, and more rain was predicted across the region.
“People had never seen so muc rain in this region,” Rio de Janeiro Vice Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao told Globo TV.
Pezao indicated he feared the death toll could rise.
“We’ll have to wait for the rescue efforts, but we’ll likely encounter a very sad outcome,” he said.
The rains prompted Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to briefly interrupt his vacation in northeastern Brazil for an emergency meeting with civil defense authorities.
Governor Sergio Cabral, who was expected to visit the area yesterday, released a statement lamenting “this sad and painful” moment.
The mudslide at the Pousada Sankay resort apparently happened after tourists had returned to their rooms following the New Year’s celebration at the lodge on Ilha Grande, a 90-minute ferry ride from Angra dos Reis on the mainland, fire department commander Pedro Machado said.
Police said some of the dead may have been in the houses. They did not immediately release the identities or nationalities of the victims.
Coroner Frank Perlini told Globo TV that a boy and a teenage girl were among the victims, which also included at least three men and three women.
“We were told that many of these houses here were rented by tourists for the holidays,” Pezao said.
A bulldozer was brought in to help in the search for survivors.
Bodies recovered from the rubble were being transported off the island by boats and helicopters. Authorities said the search was expected to continue through the night.
Witnesses told local media the hillside lodge and the houses, which can only be accessed by boat, collapsed after being struck by a slab of earth nearly 300m wide.
A broad, raw scar of dirt remained on the jungle hillside above the lodge, which was smashed by mud, trees and other vegetation.
Only a handful of houses and small patches of vegetation were left unscathed.
Wooden pieces of the lodge were seen floating near the shore and on the beach.
The hotel, which advertises nightly rates of about US$200 and can accommodate 50 guests, was reportedly full. The lodge was inaugurated in 1994, its Web site said.
Other mudslides killed 20 people across Rio de Janeiro state on Thursday, mostly in shanties collapsed under mud or rain in the greater Rio de Janeiro city area. A three-year-old girl died in a hospital on Friday after being rescued from one of the mudslides a day earlier. Her parents also died.
Two key highways linking Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo were damaged and temporarily shut down because of the heavy rains.
Local officials in Angra dos Reis declared three days of mourning and canceled the city’s annual celebration scheduled for Wednesday.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including