SAO PAULO – At least 10 people died and 11 others were injured on Saturday in a mudslide in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, official sources said.
According to Rio firefighters, eleven people were rescued alive in Morro da Boa Esperança, in the municipality of Niteroi, though at least four others are still missing.
The people who were rescued, including a baby, two children and a 33-year-old man, suffered various types of injuries and were taken to local hospitals, Roberto Robadey, commander of Rio’s fire department, said during an interview with Globo News television.
The fatal victims include a boy, two elderly women, a 37-year-old man, a woman, and a 10-month-old baby.
Robadey said some 200 rescue workers, including civil defense personnel and firefighters, were carrying out rescue operations in the area, which will continue for at least 48 hours.
The state of Rio de Janeiro, and particularly the municipality of Niteroi, have been hit by heavy rains in the last few days and have been on alert for possible mudslides, the commander said.
After a rainstorm hit Niteroi on Friday night, a mudslide came down on Morro da Boa Esperança, affecting at least six homes.
“Some people are still missing and we are attempting to determine if they were home during the mudslide to plan our rescue operations,” Robadey said.
The commander did not rule out the possibility that more people could be buried in the mud and that the number of victims could rise.
The mayor’s office of Niteroi said in a statement that this is the first mudslide in the municipality since the one that hit the Morro do Bumba favela (shantytown) in 2010, which destroyed 50 homes, killing 46 people.
In 2010, some 300 mudslides hit Rio de Janeiro state, killing more than 250 people.
“Since 2013, the mayor’s office of Niteroi has invested more than 150 million reais ($40.2 million) to build containment walls on 50 hills throughout the city,” the statement says.