According to Sunday's latest official report, at least 79 people have been killed and 56 others are missing by torrential rains that caused flooding and mudslides in Recife region, northeastern Brazil. Pernambuco State Civil Defense stated that the death toll from the rain had reached 79 as of Sunday 6 p.m., and also reported 56 missing.
After a brief pause, around 1,200 men with boats and helicopters resumed their search for missing or isolated people on Sunday. The storm created landslides along hillsides and overflowing rivers, as well as large torrents of water that swept away everything.
Local authorities released footage on Sunday showing volunteers and rescuers clearing debris from Jardim Monteverde. This is at the border of Recife and Jaboatao dos Guararapes. The worst tragedy happened in this area, where 19 people were killed by a landslide on Saturday morning.
Although heavy rain was predicted for Sunday by authorities, the storm subsided in the morning. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, the amount of precipitation was 70% higher than what is usually expected for May in Pernambuco. "We are expecting heavy rain over the next few days, even though it has stopped raining." Therefore, it is important to take self-protection measures," Daniel Ferreira (Regional Development Minister) said. Ferreira flew over the disaster zone with other Brazilian officials.
Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, has stated that he will be traveling to Recife Monday. MetSul meteorologist Estael SIAS explained that heavy rains in Pernambuco, and to a lesser degree, four other states, north-east Brazil, are caused by a phenomenon called the "eastern waves", which is typical for this time of year.
These areas are "atmospheric disturbances" that move from the African continent to Brazil's coast region, she explained. These images recall the tragedy in Petropolis (southeast), in February when 233 people died in torrential rains or mudslides.