At least 38 people have died in Brazil as floods and landslides swept the tourist area of ​​Rio de Janeiro.

At least 38 people have died in Brazil as floods and landslides swept the tourist area of ​​Rio de Janeiro.

At least 38 people have died in Brazil as devastating landslides and floods swept through the mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, local authorities have confirmed.

Flooding hit the city of Petropolis on Tuesday, and Mayor Rubens Bomtempo said the death toll could rise as search engines dig through the rubble.

The state fire department said late Tuesday that 25.8 cm (just over 10 inches) of rain fell in the area over the course of three hours on Tuesday — almost as much as the previous 30 days combined.

Gov. Claudio Castro said all the state government’s heavy machinery was deployed to help excavate the buried site in a desperate hunt for survivors.

He told reporters that soldiers were already working in the affected area, where in January 2011 heavy rains killed nearly 900 people.

A video posted to social media shows cars and houses being swept away by landslides and water swirling in Petropolis and neighboring areas.

Rosilene Virgilio, 49, was in tears as she recalled pleas for help from a woman she could not save.

“Yesterday a woman screamed: “Help! Get me out of here!” But there was nothing we could do; water gushed, mud gushed,” Virgilio told The Associated Press.

“Unfortunately, our city has come to an end.”

Rescuers and local residents search for victims in an area hit by a landslide in Petropolis, Brazil.  Authorities said heavy rains triggered landslides and floods in a mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, killing several people.

Rescuers and local residents search for victims in an area hit by a landslide in Petropolis, Brazil. Authorities said heavy rains triggered landslides and floods in a mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, killing several people.

An aerial view of the damage caused by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis, where at least 38 people died.

An aerial view of the damage caused by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis, where at least 38 people died.

Homes were damaged by landslides that killed at least 38 people in a mountainous area in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Homes were damaged by landslides that killed at least 38 people in a mountainous area in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The reaction of a man looking for his relatives among a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil.  The death toll from devastating mudslides and floods that swept through the mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro has reached 38 people, local authorities said.

The reaction of a man looking for his relatives among a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil. The death toll from devastating mudslides and floods that swept through the mountainous region of the state of Rio de Janeiro has reached 38 people, local authorities said.

Residents hug as they wait for reports of missing relatives in the affected area.  Mayor Rubens Bomtempo said the death toll could rise as searchers dig into the wreckage.

Residents hug as they wait for reports of missing relatives in the affected area. Mayor Rubens Bomtempo said the death toll could rise as searchers dig into the wreckage.

People's reaction to the search for victims of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis.

People’s reaction to the search for victims of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis.

People and rescuers at the site of landslides are looking for survivors after 30 days of rain fell in just three hours.

People and rescuers at the site of landslides are looking for survivors after 30 days of rain fell in just three hours.

A fire brigade rescue team in a helicopter searches for survivors.  The state fire department said late Tuesday that 25.8 cm (just over 10 inches) of rain fell in the area over the course of three hours on Tuesday — almost as much as the previous 30 days combined.

A fire brigade rescue team in a helicopter searches for survivors. The state fire department said late Tuesday that 25.8 cm (just over 10 inches) of rain fell in the area over the course of three hours on Tuesday — almost as much as the previous 30 days combined.

The car plunged into deep flood water after more than ten inches of rain fell in three hours on Tuesday.

The car plunged into deep flood water after more than ten inches of rain fell in three hours on Tuesday.

The Globo television network showed mud-covered houses in places where firefighters have not yet been able to reach.

On Wednesday, several streets remained inaccessible due to the accumulation of cars and household items, blocking access to the higher parts of the city.

“Neighbors came running and I took them in,” recalls 39-year-old bar owner Emerson Torre.

But under the streams of water, its roof collapsed. He managed to get his mother and three other people out of the bar in time, but one neighbor and the man’s daughter were unable to escape.

A video posted to social media shows cars and houses being swept away by landslides and water swirling in Petropolis and neighboring areas.

A video posted to social media shows cars and houses being swept away by landslides and water swirling in Petropolis and neighboring areas.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is on a visit to Russia, said on Twitter that he had instructed his ministers to provide immediate assistance to the victims.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is on a visit to Russia, said on Twitter that he had instructed his ministers to provide immediate assistance to the victims.

A rescuer holds a dog at the site of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil.

A rescuer holds a dog at the site of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil.

A member of a fire department rescue team lifts rubble to find survivors of landslides that have killed at least 38 people in Brazil.

A member of a fire department rescue team lifts rubble to find survivors of landslides that have killed at least 38 people in Brazil.

Rescuers with a sniffer dog search for victims in the area affected by the landslide.  Extremely heavy rain caused landslides and floods in a mountainous area

Rescuers with a sniffer dog search for victims in the area affected by the landslide. Extremely heavy rain caused landslides and floods in a mountainous area

A man rescues a dog that was hit by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis in Brazil.

A man rescues a dog that was hit by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis in Brazil.

Videos posted on social media show cars and houses being swept away by the water, leaving a trail of destruction in the area.

Videos posted on social media show cars and houses being swept away by the water, leaving a trail of destruction in the area.

“It was like an avalanche, everything collapsed at once. I have never seen anything like it,” Torre said as rescue helicopters hovered overhead.

“Each neighbor lost a loved one, lost two, three, four members of the same family, children.”

The Petropol City Hall has declared three days of mourning.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is on a visit to Russia, said on Twitter that he had instructed his ministers to provide immediate assistance to the victims.

“May the Lord comfort the families of the dead,” he wrote.

Petropolis is a German-influenced city named after a former emperor.

Situated in the mountains above the coastal metropolis, it has been a haven for people escaping the summer heat and tourists seeking to explore Brazil’s “Imperial City” for nearly two centuries.

There are stately mansions along its waterways, but its hillsides are covered with houses piled tightly together, some without proper foundations.

Brazil’s southeast has been punished by torrential rains since the beginning of the year, with more than 40 deaths recorded between incidents in the state of Minas Gerais in early January and in the state of São Paulo at the end of the same month.

Rescuers go to the site of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil on Wednesday.

Rescuers go to the site of a landslide in Morro da Officina after heavy rains in Petropolis, Brazil on Wednesday.

An aerial view of the damage caused by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis, where at least 38 people died.

An aerial view of the damage caused by heavy rains that hit the city of Petropolis, where at least 38 people died.

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