At least 40 people have been killed
and more than 1,000 are missing after days of rain caused rivers to swell, and
sparked mudslides and floods in north eastern Brazil.
The torrential rain, mudslides and
floods in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, about 1,200 miles from Rio de
Janeiro, completely destroyed some towns and villages. Some compared the scale
of the devastation to the damage wreaked by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, O
Globo newspaper reported on its website.
More than 100,000 people have been
Torrents of water washed away more
than 40,000 houses in 22 towns across Alagoas alone, Al Jazeera quoted local
officials as saying. Bridges, streets and rail lines were also damaged.
Entire families disappeared during
the rains and authorities were having difficulty recovering bodies, O Globo
Meanwhile, many areas in the
affected region were still without water or power.
The country’s president, Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva, called a crisis meeting after more than 14 inches of rain
fell in some regions over three days, according to Al Jazeera.
Officials in hard-hit Alagoas
reportedly said at least 500 people vanished after the Mundau River burst its
banks in the town of Uniao dos Palmares.
“We are praying for the
missing to be found alive. But we are very worried because bodies are starting
to turn up on beaches and on riverbanks,” state governor Teotonio Vilela
Filho told Al Jazeera.