By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – At least three people have died following flooding in Petrópolis, in Rio de Janeiro state’s mountainous region of Região Serrana, local media reported. The state secretary of Civil Defense, Sérgio Simões, told Globo that at least three people were killed during the early hours of Monday.

floods
Heavy rain and floods have killed at least three people overnight in Rio de Janeiro state’s historic Petrópolis, image recreation.

“The state government has mobilized all its equipment, specifically that of the State Environmental Institute (INEA) with machinery and trucks so that we can clear roads blocked by accumulated earth,” he said.

Simoes met the mayor of Petrópolis, Rubens Bontempo, early Monday. Estadão de São Paulo reported that 358 mm fell overnight, according to Climatempo. Rainfall predicted for the entire month of March was 270 mm.

The historic center and the south of Petrópolis were hit hardest, with flooded streets, landslides and collapsing buildings. The storm caused the Quitandinha and Piabanha rivers to overflow, which flooded streets in the neighbourhoods of Quitandinha, Alto Independência, Morin and Alto da Serra.

“The situation of Petrópolis is really very, very serious. Besides three dead, three are missing,” State Secretary of Environment, Carlos Minc, reportedly told Globo, noting that the mayor of the municipality has declared a state of emergency in the county.

More rain is expected throughout Monday and the mayor has appealed for people to stay inside their houses.

The mountainous region of the State of Rio de Janeiro, known as Região Serrana, was devastated by Brazil’s worst ever natural disaster in January 2011, when landslides killed more than 900 people. About 30,000 survivors were displaced across the region.

In January this year, again heavy rains killed two and displaced 3,000 in the region. The State Geological Survey has identified that 67 of Rio’s 92 municipalities have areas at risk for landslides. Of those, 49 exhibit points of imminent risk and have over 36,000 inhabitants.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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