Brazil storm toll rises to 182 one week on

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The death toll from flash floods and landslides that hit the Brazilian city of Petropolis has risen to 182, authorities said Tuesday, one week after torrential rains lashed the scenic tourist town.

A week on, rescue workers are still searching for victims, digging through the mud and wreckage left by devastating landslides that mainly hit poor hillside communities. The number of people missing since the storm currently stands at 89.

The figure has been falling as victims’ bodies are identified and as families separated in the initial chaos manage to reunite. Police said 32 children were among those killed in the February 15 storm, which dumped a month’s worth of rain on the southeastern city in several hours

Meanwhile, more than 850 people who lost their homes or had to evacuate are being housed in emergency shelters. Officials are still waging a massive clean-up operation to clear the mud, rubble and stranded vehicles strewn around Petropolis, a picturesque city of 300,000 people that was the 19th-century summer capital of the Brazilian empire.

In the past three months, at least 236 people have died in severe storms in Brazil.—APP

 

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