Rain, flooding, mudslides and human drama in the state of Rio de Janeiro

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Isabela Vieira Reporter Agência Brasil

Sapucaia, RJ – The federal highway, BR-393, that has been closed after being partially destroyed by flooding runs through the municipality of Sapucaia. The situation in the region has become critical. Following three days of landslides the latest reports are that 19 people have lost their lives due to the rains, floods and mudslides. At least nine homes in the town of Sapucaia, population slightly over 17,000, have been destroyed and even more homes are in danger of collapsing.

Civil defense authorities have allowed residents access to their homes to remove belongings. They have to go quickly and take only what they can carry.

“I took everything I could: mattress, bed, kitchen utensils,” said Katia Vieira, 38, who will live with relatives. “I couldn’t take the cupboards because they are too heavy.”

Some residents are not as lucky as Katia. They have no place to take their belongings and decided to abandon them. “I am living with my daughter but her home is very small and there is no room for my stuff,” explained Eni Maria da Conceição, 65, who is retired.

And there was João Batista, 68, who said he had lived in his house for 40 years, did not want to leave and had no place to go anyway. But João’s home was interdicted by the authorities and he could not go back there.