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Dozens dead in landslide in Northeast

Climate change and a lack of urban planning are considered factors that have led to several severe floods in Brazil in recent months, with many deaths. First the country suffered from a drought, then heavy rainfall and floods followed.

Firefighters examine a slope where a landslide occurred in the Corrego do Jenipapo neighborhood of Recife. At least two dozen people died there.

Genial paparazzi/EPA

so. / (dpa/Reuters) At least 35 people died in landslides on Friday and Saturday in north-eastern Brazil after heavy rain. It was the fourth severe flooding in the country in just five months.

In Pernambuco state, at least 33 people died by Saturday afternoon (local time) when heavy rains triggered a landslide that swept through a hilltop residential area, state authorities said on Twitter. Almost 800 people had to leave their homes at least temporarily.

Authorities in the neighboring state of Alagoas recorded two more deaths related to the heavy rains, the country’s emergency services said.

Heavy rainfall was recently recorded in the region. In the greater Recife area, more than 200 milliliters of rain fell within 24 hours, according to the government of the state of Pernambuco.

First drought, then flood

In December and January, dozens of people had died and tens of thousands of people had to leave their homes when unusually heavy rain showers fell. The country struggled with an unusually severe drought for much of 2021.

The deadly downpours, landslides and floods have sparked debate in Brazil over what role climate change might be playing. In addition, urban planning has come under the spotlight: urban planners have been accused of a lack of foresight.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Saturday that he would send a federal working group to Pernambuco, local media reported. His most important opponent in the presidential elections scheduled for October, the left-wing politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, expressed his condolences to the affected families via Twitter: “My solidarity goes to the families affected by the heavy rain in the Recife region,” he wrote.

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