Death toll in Brazil storm rises to 48
Authorities said on Wednesday that at least 48 people were killed in floods and landslides caused by torrential rains in southeastern Brazil, updating the death toll as the search for dozens of missing people entered its fourth day.
"We currently have a death toll of 48. "The number of missing is currently 38, but this number may change," said Sao Paulo state Governor Tarcisio de Freitas, updating the previous death toll of 46.
There is little hope of finding any more survivors of last weekend's deadly rains, which turned the popular resort town of Sao Sebastiao and the surrounding area into a disaster zone just as Brazilians celebrated Carnival.
The storms dumped a record 680 millimeters (27 inches) of rain on the coastal town in 24 hours, more than doubling the monthly average.
Survivors have told terrifying stories of narrowly escaping as their homes were washed away, and of families desperately digging through muck and wreckage to reach trapped relatives.
Authorities reported that approximately 2,500 people were forced to flee their homes.
President Luiz Lula da Silva visited the disaster area on Monday, promising federal aid and urging residents not to rebuild in high-risk areas.
An estimated 9.5 million of Brazil's 215 million people live in flood-prone areas, often in impoverished favelas.
The figure is especially concerning given that Brazil is experiencing an increase in weather-related disasters, which experts believe are being exacerbated by climate change.
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