Culture

Heavy Storms Kill 47 & Leave More Missing in Brazil

Lead Photo: Aerial view of mudslides area a day after the collapse of a dam at an iron-ore mine belonging to Brazil's giant mining company Vale on January 26, 2019 in Corrego do Feijao near the town of Brumadinho. Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Aerial view of mudslides area a day after the collapse of a dam at an iron-ore mine belonging to Brazil's giant mining company Vale on January 26, 2019 in Corrego do Feijao near the town of Brumadinho. Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

In southeastern Brazil, heavy rains have led to dangerous floods and landslides. The New York Times reports that 47 people are dead, four are missing and more than 18,000 have been evacuated due to the storms.

For days, rain has poured over several cities and towns in the state of Minas Gerais, an inland region located north of Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo. According to the Weather Channel, the torrent has not subdued, with rescue workers expecting rainfall for the next two days.

Officials fear the showers can threaten mining dams in the area. A year ago, a dam break led to the death of 270 people. Locals gathered to remember those who passed away during the first anniversary of the tragedy over the weekend.

View of the portraits of the Brumadinho dam break victims during the one year anniversary of the Vale Brumadinho Dam Break on January 25, 2020 in Brumadinho, Brasil. Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

“There were landslides in several roads. Minas became a time bomb with these torrential rains,” Fernanda Perdigão de Oliveira, a local activist who said she feels as if last year’s calamity is happening all over again, told the Times.

Governor Romeu Zema of Minas Gerais said the damage is caused not just by the power of the storms but also by the inadequate structures of the homes, poverty and a lack of oversight.

“There is a lack of urban planning,” he told the newspaper. “A definitive solution will only come in the long run as we have conditions to enact a housing policy that provides homes for people in neighborhoods that are risk free.”

Local fire departments, which are working to rescue missing people, report that 120 towns are currently under a state of emergency.