Sao Paulo: At least 78 people were killed by landslides, heavy rains and floods in the southeast Brazilian municipality of Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro state, the local civil defence authorities has said.
Heavy rains on Tuesday in the mountainous city, located 68 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro, caused more than 50 landslides, after it received in six hours more rain than expected for the whole month, leading to the mayor's office decreeing a state of public disaster, Xinhua news agency reported.
"It is a war situation, cars on top of houses, mud, and people looking for their loved ones," Governor of Rio de Janeiro state Claudio Castro said on Wednesday.
Civil defense Lieutenant Colonel Gil Keperms detailed during a press conference that the number of missing people remains unknown.
"Residents are looking for their loved ones under the mud," said the officer in reference to the landslide in Morro da Oficina, a hill where about 80 houses were swept away.
Images posted on social media by residents showed a mudslide that swept away houses, as well as an intense torrent of water that reached the center of Petropolis, causing flooding and chaos.