Brazil – 680mm of Rain in 24 Hours Triggers Floods and Landslides in São Paulo, Dozens Killed

The governor of São Paulo state in Brazil has declared a state of emergency after torrential rain triggered flooding and landslides in areas of the north coast of the state. Authorities said that as much as 683 mm of rain fell in Bertioga in a 24-hour period to 19 February 2023.

Floods in São Sebastião, Brazil, February 2023 – Daniela Andrade PMSS 1

Governor Tarcísio de Freitas declared a state of emergency for the cities of Ubatuba, São Sebastião, Ilhabela, Caraguatatuba and Bertioga on 19 February.

As of 20 February, 36 deaths were confirmed, including 35 in São Sebastião – 31 in Barra do Sahy, two in Juquehy, one in Camburi, one in Boiçucanga – and one in Ubatuba.

Flooding and landslides have damaged homes across the region and 566 people have been displaced or made homeless. Civil Defense has distributed relief supplies in affected areas, including mattresses, blankets and food baskets. Drinking water infrastructure has been severely damaged in São Sebastião, Caraguatatuba and the municipality of Ilhabela. Drinking water is being delivered by tank trucks in areas of São Sebastião.

Dozens of roads have been washed out or blocked, causing severe transport difficulties.

Landslide in Lagoinha, Brazil, February 2023. Photo: Defesa Civil de Ubatuba

More than 130 teams from the Civil Defense, Military Police, Fire Department and the Brazilian Army have been delayed to the areas, carrying out relief and search and rescue operations. Much of the work is concentrated in the region of Barra do Sahy and Camburi in São Sebastião. Around 80 more police officers are expected to be delayed on 20 February.

The government of São Paulo state said that heavy rain began on 18 February. Below are some of the highest accumulations for a 24-hour period to 19 February:

  • Bertioga 683 mm
  • Guarujá 395 mm
  • Santos 232 mm
  • São Vicente 194 mm
  • Cubatão 117 mm
  • Praia Grande 209 mm
  • Mongaguá 112 mm
  • Itanhaém 94 mm
  • Peruíbe 98 mm
  • Ubatuba 335 mm
  • Caraguatatuba 234 mm
  • Ilhabela 337 mm
  • São Sebastião 627 mm

This is the second severe flood event in the state in the last two weeks. Flooding affected the Greater São Paulo Region on 07 February. State news agency Agência Brasil reported one person died in flood waters in Osasco. Another person was reported missing and later found dead in floods in Parque São Lucas, in the east zone of São Paulo.

Heavy rain also has caused flooding and landslides in other areas of the state. On 13 February 2023, state Civil Protection provided an update for the period 01 December 2022 to 13 February 2023, reporting 249 rain-related incidents, 8,547 people displaced and 25 deaths.

Floods in São Sebastião, Brazil, February 2023. Photo: Daniela Andrade / PMSS
Floods in São Sebastião, Brazil, February 2023. Photo: Daniela Andrade / PMSS
Floods in São Sebastião, Brazil, February 2023. Photo: Daniela Andrade / PMSS