Heavy rain causes ‘crisis’ in Rio de Janeiro
Torrents of water gushed down streets, sweeping up cars and uprooting trees.
Heavy rains blamed for the deaths of at least four people have continued to fall on Rio de Janeiro as officials closed schools and urged people to avoid non-essential traffic.
Torrents of water gushed down streets, sweeping up cars and uprooting trees following rains that began at around rush hour on Monday evening.
Mayor Marcelo Crivella said the Brazilian city faced a “crisis” and said heavy rains would continue.
City officials said 6in of rain fell in just four hours on Monday night, more than the average for the whole month of April.
The botanical garden neighbourhood, a tourist destination, was one of the most badly hit areas, receiving 9in in a 24-hour period.
Local television stations showed firefighters in that neighbourhood wading through knee-deep water pulling a small boatload of children evacuated from a school bus on a flooded street.
Sirens rang in 20 flood-risk areas of the city, alerting people to make their way to pre-established safe spaces.
But Mr Crivella said they were not triggered in the Babilonia slum, which sits on a hill behind the city’s famous Sugarloaf Mountain.
The fire department said two women there died in a mudslide and local residents complained about the lack of warning.
A third person drowned, officials said, but the circumstances in which a fourth person died remained unclear.
Hillside slums are particularly vulnerable to mudslides and city officials said more than 100 communities have been identified as having “high geological risks”.