Heavy rains killed at least 10 people and left a trail of destruction in Rio de Janeiro

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A State of Emergency was declared in Rio de Janeiro after torrential downpours killed at least 10 people. Emergency personnel acted quickly to rescue people trapped in cars and on the streets.

A woman and her 7-year-old granddaughter were buried in a mudslide as they rode in a taxi, and the driver’s body was also found inside the vehicle. Two adult sisters died when their home in a slum was buried in a mudslide, while a man drowned in another part of the city, the mayor’s office said in a statement. Torrents of water gushed down streets, sweeping up cars and uprooting trees after rains that began around rush hour. Rains slowly weakened, but Mayor Marcelo Crivella said the city was still in “crisis” mode, the highest of three levels. Schools were closed and people urged to avoid non-essential traffic until further notice. More than 31cm of rain (13 inches) fell in some parts of the city within 24 hours, the mayor’s office said. People have been told to avoid walking in flooded streets as the water may be contaminated. Over 5,000 people are working to minimise problems caused by the weather, the mayor said.

firefighters and volunteers take part in a rescue operation following a mudslide. In November, 10 people, including at least one child, were killed in a landslide caused by flash flooding in Rio de Janeiro state. “The setting is sub-tropical, coastal and mountainous (inland), which tend to get occasional, heavy, warm-season rainfall. In the present setup, we have a weak cold front, from the southwest, interacting with a northwesterly feed of humid air out of Brazil’s tropical hinterland,”

City officials said 6 inches of rain fell in just four hours Monday night, more than the average for the whole month of April.

Sirens sounded in 20 flood-prone areas of the city, alerting people to make their way to pre-established safe spaces. But no alarm was given in the Babilonia slum, which sits on a hill behind the iconic Sugarloaf mountain. The fire department said two women there died in a mudslide, and local residents complained about the lack of warning. Firefighters spent hours trying to reach the vehicle, going through mud, rubble and fallen trees.

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