At least 94 people have been killed in Petropolis, Brazil, after heavy rains caused mudslides that destroyed homes and washed away vehicles, local government officials said Wednesday.
Petropolis, also called the "Imperial City," is a mountain town above Rio de Janeiro that was a destination for Brazilian monarchs during the 19th century. On Tuesday, rainfall in Petropolis exceeded the average for all of February, Reuters reports, and widespread flooding and mudslides wreaked havoc on this town of about 300,000 people.
"The situation is almost like war," Rio de Janeiro Gov. Claudio Castro told reporters on Wednesday. There are "cars hanging from poles, cars overturned, lots of mud and water still."
The search continues for survivors, with some people and animals pulled from the rubble on Wednesday. More than 300 people have had to evacuate from their houses, with many finding shelter at schools and community centers. Local officials believe the death toll will continue to rise.
Shopkeeper Henrique Pereira told Reuters the water came through Petropolis "very fast and with great force. My loss was 100 percent. Our life was already tough with the pandemic and less movement, and this tragedy still comes."