As many as 94 people have now died in the catastrophic floods and landslides that struck in Petrópolis in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, on 15 February 2022.
A huge search and rescue operation is ongoing in the city. In all, 540 firefighters, 210 military police, 200 civil police officers and 9 state helicopters have been deployed to the area. As of late 16 February (local time) 24 people had been rescued alive from the floods and landslide debris. The Fire Department has set up a field hospital to provide medical care to those injured. The State Department of Health (SES) sent two trucks with drugs and vaccines.
Hundreds of homes suffered damage of some kind, with many houses completely destroyed. A total of 439 people were reported homeless by Brazil’s Civil Defence.
Clean-up operations have also started in some areas of the city, involving 190 pieces of machinery and vehicles for clearing roads and debris. The state governor, Cláudio Castro, has been in Petrópolis since 15 February. Speaking about the rescue and clean-up operations, he said:
“We have mobilized teams and machinery and we will invest whatever is necessary for the reconstruction of this municipality and try to minimize the pain of these families who are victims of the rain. The population of Petrópolis can be sure that there will be no lack of solidarity from all over Rio de Janeiro.”
Petrópolis recorded 210 mm of rain in just 3 hours. The average for the entire month of February is approximately 200 mm. The state government confirmed yesterday that the rain was the heaviest recorded in Petrópolis since 1932 when measurements began.