Brazil: At least 37 killed in catastrophic landslides

26 January 2020, 16:12 | Updated: 26 January 2020, 16:16

At least 37 people have been killed following record rainfall in the region
At least 37 people have been killed following record rainfall in the region. Picture: PA

At least 37 people have been killed as record rainfall in Brazil causes devastating landslides on the anniversary of the Drumadinho dam disaster.

Torrential rainfall and intense storms in south-eastern Brazil have forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Civil defence officials said 25 people were missing in Minas Gerais - the same state where the catastrophic Brumadinho dam disaster, on 25 January 2019, killed more than 250 people.

Rescue workers looking for victims in Vila Bernadete, Belo Horizonte
Rescue workers looking for victims in Vila Bernadete, Belo Horizonte. Picture: Getty

Belo Horizonte, the state capital, recorded 171 millimetres (6.7 inches) of rain in a single 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday.

Rainfall in the region has been the heaviest since records began in 1910, according to the National Institute of Meteorology.

More than 2,500 people have been forced from their homes since the heavy rainfall began.

Rainfall in the region has been the heaviest since records began 110 years ago
Rainfall in the region has been the heaviest since records began 110 years ago. Picture: PA

Severe flooding has led to landslides, overflowing rivers, highways being cut off and building collapses.

A state of emergency was declared in 47 cities by state governor Gustavo Zema, a move that usually signals the implementation of federal disaster aid.

Governor Zema also announced three days of official mourning for those killed in the floods and landslides.

The Brumadinho dam disaster led to 270 deaths
The Brumadinho dam disaster led to 270 deaths. Picture: PA

Most of the victims were killed in the landslides or buried in their collapsed homes, with two children being listed among the dead.

The disaster comes on the anniversary of the Brumadinho dam disaster that killed 270 people, with 11 still listed as missing.

Poor drainage systems and the sheer volume of water caused the dam to rupture last year, killing hundreds of employees of the mining firm Vale.

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