The death toll from the heavy rains that devastated the coastal areas of the state of Sao Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, rose to 57 on Friday, according to official data, compared to the 50 registered a day earlier.
Torrential rains have triggered landslides and flooding in coastal cities of Brazil’s richest state since last weekend. The city of Sao Sebastiao bore the brunt, with 56 of the recorded deaths.
The Sao Paulo state government said in a statement that more rains were expected for Friday, while search and rescue efforts continued and dozens of people were still missing. More than 4,000 people were forced to leave their homes, he added.
The local government also asked tourists not to travel to the region’s cities to avoid overloading hospitals, roads, and food and water supplies.
On Thursday, a Brazilian Navy ship arrived in Sao Sebastiao to help rescue the victims. The ship will serve as an emergency field hospital and is equipped with helicopters and landing vehicles, as well as hospital beds.
Regional Development Minister Waldez Goes declared on Friday that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had ordered him to maintain dialogue with local authorities and guarantee the provision of services to the affected population. The government will also work to “restore and rebuild the city,” Goes added.