350 dead, at least 50 missing in Brazil floods

Photo Gallery: Rescuers slow to arrive at remote area in mountains north of Rio de Janeiro; residents have no food, water or medication.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 13, 2011 19:24
2 minute read.

Brazil 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Walls of earth and water swept away homes in the mountains north of Rio de Janeiro, wiping out families and leaving survivors scrambling Thursday to reach still-trapped neighbors.

At least 350 people died in three towns after the slides hit at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, and 50 or more were still missing, according to officials and reliable local news reports.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Floods hit empty Brisbane; 20,000 homes in danger
Brazil government says 100,000 displaced by floods

"We were like zombies, covered in mud, in the dark, digging and digging" after the slides hit at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, said Geisa Carvalho, 19.

A tremendous rumble awoke Geisa and her mother Vania Ramos as tons of earth slid down a sheer granite rock face onto their neighborhood. The power was out, but by lightning flashes they could see a torrent of mud and water rushing just a few feet (meters) from their home — and the remnants of their neighbors' houses that were swept far down a hill.

"I don't even have the words to describe what I've seen," said Ramos, during a 5-mile (8-kilometer) hike to the main part of her town in search of food and water. "A lot of our friends are dead or missing. There are people we may never find."

Carvalho and Ramos said they ran out of their home moments after the mudslide and joined neighbors in digging for survivors with bare hands and sticks. They quickly located a family of four who had died under the rubble of their home — and said another neighbor's 2-month-old baby was washed away in his crib and has yet to be found.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Nearly all the homes in their Caleme neighborhood were swept to the bottom of a hill, seemingly turned inside out. Tangles of plumbing were wrapped in trees, children's' clothing littered the earth, massive trees were tossed about like toothpicks. A river of water and mud flowed through the streets as a light rain continued to fall Thursday.

Only a few rescuers had managed to hike to Caleme by Thursday and they only had shovels and machetes — not the heavier equipment that may be needed to hunt for survivors. Residents said they had no food, water or medication, and many made the long walk for help to the center of Teresopolis, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Rio.

Such disasters hit Brazil annually in its rainy summer season and unduly punish the poor, who often live in rickety shacks perched perilously on steep hillsides with little or no foundations.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

MK Tali Fluskov at the Conference For Euro-Asian Female Leaders beside Russian President Putin.
September 21, 2018
Putin: Probe expected on Russian plane shot down in Syria

By TAMAR BEERI